WASHINGTON — Sales of merchant wholesalers were up 1.3% to $413.1 billion in December, following a revised 0.5% gain in November, while inventories were up 1.0% to $473.2 billion in the month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

November sales were 11.8% above the December 2010 level.

The 1.0% gain in sales for December 2011 was higher than the median 0.5% increase projected by economists.

Inventories were flat in November. December inventories were 10.0% above the December 2010 level.

The 1.0% gain for December 2011 was greater than the median 0.4% increase estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

The December inventories/sales ratio was 1.15, slightly lower than the 1.16 ratio a year ago.

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