Merchant wholesalers posted a 1.4% decrease in inventories in April, while sales slumped 0.4% in the month, according to data released yesterday by the Commerce Department.

Inventories of merchant wholesalers slid to $405.4 billion following a revised 1.8% decrease to $411.1 billion in March, originally reported as a 1.6% decrease to $411.7 billion.

Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers fell to about $309.4 billion following February’s unrevised 2.4% decrease to $310.7 billion.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 1.1% decrease in inventories.

Inventories were off 6.2% from April 2008, when they were at $432.1 billion, while year-over-year, sales posted an 19.5% slump from $384.2 billion.

The inventories to sales ratio was 1.31, off from 1.32 last month and up from 1.12 a year ago.

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