Nicholas T. Pinchuk
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Snap-on
Thanks, Sara. Good morning, everybody. Today, I'll start with a view of our fourth quarter, give you an update on the environment and the trends we see, and I'll take you through some of the turbulence we've overcome and the advancements we've made, and Aldo will then, as usual, give you a more detailed review of the financials. The fourth quarter was encouraging. It affirm the characteristics that make Snap-on the company we know it to be, the resilience of our markets, the power of our strategic position and the consistent and capable execution of our teams. It all added up to momentum, cutting through the challenges and the numbers testified to just that. Our reported sales in the quarter of $1,108.3 million were up 3.2%, including $12.2 million from acquisitions being offset by $3 million of unfavorable foreign currency exchange.
Organically, our sales grew by 2.3%. Importantly, if you compare to the prepandemic levels of 2019, before the period-to-period variability of last year, you see a clear and unmistakable upward drive. Versus 2019, sales in this past quarter were up 16% as reported and 13% organically, continuing an ongoing trend of accelerating expansion, increasing higher and higher over pre-COVID levels. The quarter also bears the marks of the Snap-on value creation processes. Safety, quality, customer connection, innovation and rapid continuous improvement, or RCI, as we call it, all combining to offer significant progress. The progress, there was. Opco operating income of $232.2 million was up $16.16 million point from last year and the OI margin was 21%, an all-time high, up 90 basis points from last year and 310 basis points from 2019, all achieved by overcoming the challenges of this day.
For financial services, operating income of $67.2 million was down from the $68.5 million of last year. But delinquencies in the quarter were below both 2020 and those of 2019, an ongoing testament to our unique business model and its ability to navigate through the most threatening of environments. And the combination of results from opco and financial services offered an overall consolidated operating margin of 25.1%, up from the 24.4% of last year and the 22.5% recorded in 2019. Our quarterly EPS was $4.10, well over the $3.82 of a year ago, which included a $0.02 charge for restructuring. And that $4.10 was up 33.1% over 2019, a considerable gain in my book. Those are the numbers. Now let's speak about the markets. We do believe the auto repair environment continues to be favorable.
In the areas serving vehicle OEMs and dealerships, we do see some turbulence. New car sales around the world remain mixed, with China generally progressing, but both North America and Europe having a tough fourth quarter. Overall volume below the 2019 levels, and some new model releases and features were delayed by supply chain constraints, and that impacted the associated essential tool programs that we are involved in. OEM projects aside, however, dealership repair, maintenance and warranty are all healthy. Techs are seeing good times, and the dealers are looking to support their expansion in their shop. In effect, the OEM market is mixed but technicians are quite positive.
There's a growing appetite for repair shop equipment, but essential tool programs are attenuated. Now in the independent repair shop, it's a horse of a different color. Confidence is uniformly sky high. Based on what we hear from our franchisees, shop owners and technicians, optimism and independent repair shop continues to be strong. And our sales in that sector may reflect that confidence. So we believe, on balance, vehicle repair is a great place to operate for our tools too and for our Repair System & Information or RS&I Group. The critical industries where our Commercial & Industrial group play or C&I plays, we are seeing areas of progress, but the lingering effects of virus have created headwinds.
And the results in the quarter showed that trend with variations from country to country. A recovery in Asia and emerging markets, but Europe being quite mixed. There are also differences from sector to sector. Education, natural resources and general industry showing improvement while the military spending continues to experience, what I'd say, a substantial challenges. Overall, however, I would describe our C&I markets as holding their own against the turbulence, public variation. We do believe we're well positioned, and I think the numbers say this, to confront the challenges of this time, advancing a long ways for growth. We're also confident that we have continuing potential on our runways for improvement.
The Snap-on Value Creation processes, they're a constant fuel for our progress, especially customer connection, understanding the work of professional technicians; and innovation, matching that insight to technology. We believe our product lineup just keeps getting stronger every day, and we keep investing to make it so. Vehicles are rising in complexity, technicians needs assistance, and so products are becoming more sophisticated to match the changing requirements and Snap-on is keeping pace. In 2021, we had more hit $1 million projects than ever before. We've endeavored through the virus era to maintain our product, our brand, I've spoken of this before. And the virus era, we've endeavored to maintain our product, our brand and our people. And we believe that continuing commitment has served us well, offering positive results and creating substantial momentum for the days ahead.
And that momentum is apparent in our full year results. Sales of $4,252 million, up 18.4% including an organic increase of 15.1% compared to last year and a 14% organic gain over 2019. Strong numbers. The as-reported opco OI margin for the year was 20%, a new high, up from the 17.6% of 2020, exceeding the 19.2% of the prepandemic 2019. As-reported earnings per share for the year were $14.92, up 30.4%, or 28.3% as adjusted for the nonrecurring restructuring and the restructuring in 2020, and up 21.7% as adjusted from 2019. All clear signs of ongoing momentum. Now for the operating groups. Let's start with C&I. Fourth quarter sales of $358.7 million for the group were down $5.7 million, including $4.1 million of unfavorable currency. Versus 2019, sales grew $5.8 million, reflecting primarily acquisition volume and currency impact.
The period saw a recovery in Asia with Indonesia. And in the quarter, we saw -- we did see a recovery in Asia with Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea and China rising. Europe and North America were more impacted by the environment and were down slightly in the quarter. Looking at the sectors, nice progress with our precision -- was achieved in our precision torque line. And that progress was -- but that progress was more than offset by lower critical industry activity attenuated in those critical industries, primarily by lower U.S. military spending and by supply chain-driven constraints and in the custom kitting area. C&I operating income was $50.1 million, down $6.1 million, including $1.2 million of unfavorable currency. The gains in Asia and the torque were more than offset by the reduced military activity in the industrial kitting constraints.
As I mentioned, however, specialty torque -- the specialty torque operation did register continuing progress driven by innovative new products, developed through customer connection and observational work. Great offerings like our recently released QB4R line of 3/4-inch Drive Break-Over Torque Wrenches, capable of -- this wrench is capable of accurately fastening from 450- to 750-pound feet. It's designed specifically for heavy-duty applications, tough jobs such as torquing lug nuts on big trucks. The new unit combines our Norbar, our regionally acquired Norbar industrial torque technology with a robust ratchet designs produced on Elizabeth and Tennessee factory. Those original light vehicle ratcheting mechanisms of our Tennessee plant were reengineered for higher tension heavy requirements and were directly matched to our unique Norbar breakover device, which provides a clear indication that the torque target has been reached, ensuring reliable accuracy every time.
The ratchet design with our patent steel head is rugged, capable of withstanding very high stresses and has an easy-to-read adjustment mechanism that reduces the possibility of error and is virtually maintenance-free. The new wrench also has a quick release feature for easy disassembly, compact storage and great portability. The Snap-on QB4R, we like to say strength, accuracy and convenience. And as you might expect, sales have been strong. As the need for precision increases, torque products are becoming more prominent, and Snap-on is playing an active role in that rise. C&I, mixed results, but significant areas of progress boding well for its future. Now let's go on to the Tools Group. Sales of $504.8 million, up $9.9 million, including favorable currency and a $7.9 million organic rise from continued expansion in the U.S., a positive that was somewhat attenuated this quarter by a low single-digit decline in the international networks.
But versus 2019, a more comparable base, the Tools Group rose 21.5% and has been up now from prepandemic levels for six straight quarters. And the operating margin was 21.9%, easily one of the highest ever, up 300 basis points from last year, all despite the ongoing challenges of this day. We have continued to invest in product, brand and people. And the Tools Group has used that focus to advantage. The expanding and considerable gains from the time before the virus makes that clear. In the quarter and throughout the year, the Tools Group results continue to confirm the leadership position of our van network. We believe the franchisees are growing stronger, and that's evidenced in the franchisee health metrics we monitor each period. They're on an unmistakably favorable trend. And that positivity was acknowledged by multiple publications, all this thing Snap-on as a franchise of choice.
This quarter, we were once again ranked among the top franchise organizations, both in the U.S. and abroad, recognized by the Franchise Business Review, which in its latest ranking for franchisee satisfaction, listed Snap-on as the top 50 franchise for the 15th consecutive year. We're also featured at number three among all franchises in Entrepreneurial Magazine's 2020 list of top franchises for veterans. And abroad, Snap-on was ranked number two in Elite Franchise Magazine's top U.K. franchises. The judges in that ranking state that the durability and innovation shown in the face of unimaginable circumstances are what is decided in this year's top 10, and the panel was right on. Durability and innovation are what makes the Tools Group -- what marks the Tools Group in the storm is clear.
Now this type of recognition is a point of pride for us, but it reflects the fundamental strength of our franchisees and of our van business in general, but it would not have been achieved without a continuous stream of innovative new products developed through our strong customer connections, learning and leading to multiple new problem solving innovations. And the results of our insight in experience in the changing universe of vehicle repair. Customer connection gives us a great window on that changing universe and we put it to good use. Our sales of hand tools were up nicely in the quarter. And of course, new products led the way there. Our innovative 30, LS, DM, core half-inch drive impact sockets were a significant contributor. Born out of customer connection, observing the work in automotive shops, the special sockets, they range from to 17 to 22 millimeters, come with an extra deep hex, up to 3/4 inch deeper, accommodating the lug nuts with decorative caps that are becoming so common on the latest models.
The new sockets provide the clearance needed to fit right over those nut covers without damage, grab the lug and enable quick removal without having to remove the caps. It saves techs significant time over a day of repair activity. They made right here in our Milwaukee plant. They released just this past quarter, and initial sales have been gangbusters, I'm telling you. And making those sales have made that new socket line a hit product just in the volume in the fourth quarter. Accelerated sales. Well, that's the Tools Group, expanding the success in the U.S., balancing the international operations, continuing to innovate, building on our underlying advantages, stronger-than-ever performance all achieved against the wind. Now for RS&I.
Volume for the fourth quarter was $392.5 million, up 8.7%, including acquisitions and 5.5% of organic growth with gains in sales of modern car equipment, increased volume of handheld diagnostics and the rise of information and data subscriptions being partially offset by a decrease in our business focused on vehicle OEMs and dealerships. RS&I operating margins of $97.2 million rose $7.2 million or 8% versus 2020. And that number in 2020 included $1 million of restructuring costs. Compared with the prepandemic levels of 2019, sales grew $57.5 million, 17.2%, including a $43.7 million or 13% organic gain. And the RS&I gross OI margin of 24.8% compared with a 24.9% and a 26% registered in 2020 and 2010, respectively, with the impact of acquisitions attenuating a generally positive balance for the operations. Again, software products and subscriptions for RS&I were a significant plus.
Along those lines, I'll mention one division, providing software to independent shops, continue to succeed, pursuing customer connection and innovation, launching great new products to improve shop efficiency. RS&I just added more powerful and exclusive features to its award-winning Mitchell one ProDemand auto repair information software. You see, as auto electronics have expanded, wiring diagrams have become of rising importance in vehicle diagnosis and repair. And the new ProDemand significantly advances what is already a clear lead from Mitchell one in diagram navigation, offering new features that provide interactive drop-downs, display connection data, allow easy movement to the next diagram on the diagnostic trail and enable a seamless recall of previous viewed circuits should a look-back be needed in the repair process.
And as you might expect, the initial reactions to the new updates have been quite enthusiastic from both the shops and from the technicians. It's all music to our ears. We keep driving to expand RS&I's position with repair shop owners and managers, offering them more and more solutions for their day-to-day challenges, developed by our value creation processes or added by our strategic coherent acquisitions. And we're confident it's a winning formula. So those are the highlights of the quarter, doing what we expect to do, achieve ongoing process again -- achieve ongoing progress against the storm. A continuing rise versus the prepandemic levels, up more each quarter now for several straight periods.
Gains forged through our Snap-on Value Creation processes, strengthening our business and driving to a 21% opco operating margin, up 90 basis points. A new record. EPS $4.10, a considerable rise to new heights, overcoming all headwinds and demonstrating continued confirmation that Snap-on has emerged from the pandemic much stronger than when we entered with the momentum that we're confident will propel us to even higher heights as we move forward.
Now I'll turn the call over to Aldo. Aldo?