Merchant wholesalers posted a 1.7% decrease in inventories in June, while sales rose 0.4%, according to data released yesterday by the Commerce Department.

Inventories of merchant wholesalers slid to $393.9 billion, following a revised 1.2% decrease to $400.8 billion in May, originally reported as a 0.8% decrease to $402.2 billion.

Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers rose to $313.1 billion following May’s revised 0.4% gain to $312.1 billion, originally reported as a 0.2% gain to $311.3 billion.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 0.5% increase in wholesale sales and a 0.9% drop in wholesale inventories.

Inventories were off 10.3% from June 2008, when they were at $439.2 billion, while year-over-year, sales posted a 21.0% slump from $396.3 billion.

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