December 10, 2008

Wholesale sales drop 4.1 percent in month

Merchant wholesale trade sales dropped 4.1 percent in October from September, while inventories declined 1.1 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

The figures point to a backlog of inventory at the country's wholesale level. Inventories reached $438.2 billion by the end of the month, 8 percent higher than a year ago, the Census Bureau said.

Sales were up 2.7 percent from a year ago.

In the automobile industry, sales fell 4.5 percent in the month while inventories dropped 0.2 percent, indicating production will need to slow further to prevent unsold inventories from building.

Durable goods sales overall dropped 4.2 percent on the month while inventories dropped 0.2 percent. Over the year, durable good sales have declined 1.6 percent while inventories increased 10 percent, the report said.

Non-durable goods sales fell 4.1 percent on the month while inventories fell at a slower rate of 2.6 percent. Over the past 12 months, non-durable goods sales have risen 6.5 percent while inventories have gained 4.8 percent, the census bureau said.