WASHINGTON — Sales of merchant wholesalers fell 0.8% to $415.4 billion in January, while inventories rose 1.2% to $504.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The January sales decline followed an unrevised virtually unchanged December. The drop in the sales figure contrasted with the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected a median 0.2% increase.

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.