Wholesale sales advanced by 0.3% in March to $49.1 billion. The increase was mainly due to higher sales in the motor vehicle industry. Since May 2012, wholesale sales have been relatively flat.
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.1% in March.
Gain led by the Motor Vehicle industry
In March, four of the seven sub-sectors reported gains, accounting for about two-thirds of wholesale sales. Excluding the motor vehicle and parts sub-sector, wholesale sales were unchanged.
Sales in the motor vehicle and parts sub-sector rose 2.0% to $8.5 billion in March its second consecutive increase. The advance in March largely reflected higher sales in the motor vehicle industry (+3.9%), which represents about three-quarters of this sub-sector.
In the miscellaneous sub-sector, sales rose by 1.4%. The increase was largely driven by a 7.8% gain in the agricultural supplies industry, the fifth increase in six months.
Sales in the building materials and supplies sub-sector rose by 0.6%. All three industries in this sub-sector posted higher sales, with the majority of the increase coming from the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry.
The largest decline in dollar terms was in the personal and household goods sub-sector (-0.9%), mainly as a result of a 2.4% decrease in the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry.