WASHINGTON - Sales of merchant wholesalers fell 1.4% to $402.9 billion in June after dropping a revised 1.1% in May, originally reported as a 0.8% decline, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The May decrease stood in contrast to the 0.2% increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

The drop was led by a 5.3% decline in the sales of petroleum and petroleum products, but was somewhat softened by increases of 1.4% in automotive sales and 1.1% in grocery sales.

The  June sales figure was 3.1% above the level for the same month a year ago.

Inventories were down 0.2% to $481.9 billion for June after remaining unchanged in May. That month was originally reported as a 0.3% advance in inventory levels..

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted that inventory levels would rise 0.3%.  Driving the decline was a sharp drop in petroleum inventories, a force which was partially offset by a 1.1% bump in machinery inventories.

The June level of inventories was 9.1% above the level the same month a year ago.

June's inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufactures’' sales branches and offices, was 1.20, an increase over the previous month's 1.18 ratio. One year ago, the ratio was 1.17.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.