Wholesale inventories rose 0.4% in March as strong sales emptied shelves, dropping the inventories-to-sales ratio to a record low, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

The inventories-to-sales ratio dropped to 1.13 months in March, the lowest on record dating back to January 1992. That compares with a 1.39 month supply in March 2009. The steady decline in the inventories-to-sales ratio is a harbinger of increased factory production and economic growth.

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