U.S. wholesalers pared back inventories for the seventh consecutive month in December even as sales declined, the government said Friday.

The Commerce Department said stocks of unsold goods on wholesaler's shelves fell 0.6 percent in December to $288.2 billion after falling a revised 1.3 percent in November. The dip in inventory levels was roughly in line with the 0.5 percent decline forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.

Sales also dropped in December, dipping 0.4 percent to $222.7 billion after being unchanged in November.

The stock to sales ratio, which measures how long it would take to deplete inventories at the current sales pace, declined slightly to 1.29 months compared to 1.30 months in November.