Wholesales sales increased by 2.3% to $419 billion for November 2012, according to a Department of Commerce report [link opens in PDF] released today. For the same month, inventories bumped up just 0.6% to $499 billion, dropping the stock-to-sales ratio to an improved 1.19.
Seasonally adjusted sales have improved most in the last year for farm products (25.6%), the lumber industry (16.6%), and the automotive sector (14.3%). In the same period, sectors with the largest seasonally adjusted increases in inventories include machinery (18.4%), farm products (16.5%), and lumber (11.8%). The only two sectors recording year-over-year decreases in inventories were apparel (-5%) and "miscellaneous nondurable" (-1.6 %).
Signs of sales beating out inventories over the long term are still less than optimistic. Compared to November 2011, sales are up 5.6%, while inventories have increased 7%.