Dec. 11, 2006 -- Sales at U.S. merchant wholesalers fell by 0.5 percent to $327.8 billion in October, driven by declines in lumber, machinery, and drugs, the Commerce Department reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, inventories rose by 0.8 percent to $392.9 billion, the report said.

The ratio of sales to inventories in October was 1.20, compared to 1.15 over the same period last year, the report said.

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