WASHINGTON — Sales of merchant wholesalers were up 0.5% to $411.1 billion in March after rising a revised 1.1% in February, while inventories were up 0.3% to $480.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The February gain was originally reported as a 1.2 % increase. March’s sales mark represents a 6.5% rise from the March 2011 level.

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