Tim Boyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An employee arranges flat screen television inventory at the ABT warehouse in Glenview, Illinois.

U.S. wholesale inventories dropped 0.5 percent in April, falling short of economists’ expectations, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

Economists were expecting a gain of 0.2 percent in April, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Last month, the Commerce Department announced wholesale inventories climbed 0.2 percent for March.

Sales by merchant wholesalers for April, excluding manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, and after adjustment for seasonal variations, were $462.3 billion, down 0.4 percent for the latest period, the group added on Friday.

Total inventories by merchant wholesalers were $591 billion at the end of the month. The April inventories/sales ratio came in at 1.28, compared to 1.35 a year ago. For the first quarter overall, inventory investment was on the weaker side, taking away from growth.

Wholesale inventories data for May will be released on July 11, the Commerce Department announced.

Read the complete report from the Commerce Department.

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