J. Mitchell Dolloff
President and Chief Executive Officer at Leggett & Platt
Good morning and thank you all for participating in our fourth quarter call. First, I'd like to welcome Tyson Hagale, President of our Bedding Products segment. Tyson is joining us today to participate in Q&A and will be a regular participant on these calls. Tyson's been with the Company for over 20 years and previously served in various roles of increasing responsibility in our Bedding, Furniture and Corporate development areas. In 2021, Leggett & Platt achieved several milestones. We attained record sales and EPS. We increased our dividend for the 50th consecutive year. We issued our inaugural sustainability report.
We promoted Tyson Hagale to lead our Bedding Products segment, and Sonia Smith, to lead our Automotive business; two outstanding long-tenured employees and added newly created positions including our first Chief Human Resources Officer, our first Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Director and our first Sustainability Manager, all demonstrating our commitment to ESG. Those achievements would not be possible without our 20,000 employees who are dedicated to creating innovative, sustainable products for our customers, ensuring a safe and inclusive workplace and driving value for our shareholders. I want to thank our employees for their tremendous contributions in another challenging year. Your collaboration, agility, dedication and commitment to our values drive our success.
Yesterday, we reported record quarterly sales from continuing operations of $1.33 billion, EBIT of $152 million and earnings per share of $0.77. Sales in the quarter were up 13% versus fourth quarter of 2020 and reflect the pass-through of significant inflation in 2021, partially offset by lower volume in several of our businesses. When comparing to the pre-pandemic results of fourth quarter 2019, trade sales grew 16%, adjusted EBITDA increased 15% and adjusted EPS increased 31%.
For the full year 2021, sales increased 19% to $5.07 billion from a combination of raw material-related price increases, volume gains and currency benefits. EBIT increased 46% and adjusted EBIT increased 25%, primarily from volume recovery from pandemic-related sales declines in 2020, expanded metal margins in our rod mill and pricing discipline. Full year EPS was $2.94 and adjusted EPS was $2.78, a 29% increase versus 2020 adjusted EPS of $2.16. When comparing to the pre-pandemic results of 2019, trade sales grew 7%, adjusted EBITDA increased 9% and adjusted EPS increased 16%. While we continue to navigate a number of macro market challenges, including supply chain constraints, inflation and a likely shift to tighter monetary policy, we expect to see improvements in 2022 as conditions stabilize and growth continues in our businesses most negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Moving on to the segments. Sales in our Bedding Products segment were up 18% versus the fourth quarter of 2020 and up 22% versus the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily from raw material-related selling price increases from inflation in steel, chemicals and non-woven fabrics. Volume was down in both the one-year and two-year periods primarily due to challenges with chemical and labor availability in the US market early in the quarter and softness in the US and European market in demand which developed later in the quarter.
Supply of chemicals used in our specialty foam operations negatively impacted our production levels in October and November, but improved in December. Despite softening in recent months, we still expect reasonable demand in 2022. EBITDA margins in the segment were lower versus fourth quarter 2020 primarily from lower volume, investments to maintain labor and higher transportation cost. Adjusted EBITDA margins improved over fourth quarter 2019, primarily from expanded metal margins in our Steel Rod business and fixed cost actions taken in 2020.
Sales in our Specialized Products segment were down 3% from the fourth quarter 2020 due to lower volume in Automotive, partially offset by growth in Hydraulic Cylinders and Aerospace. Sales were down 2% from fourth quarter 2019 due to lower volume in Automotive and Aerospace partially offset by growth in Hydraulic Cylinders.
In our Automotive business, volume was down over the one-year and two-year periods. While industry production improved sequentially from the third quarter, semiconductor shortages negatively impacted vehicle production levels in the fourth quarter. Consumer demand remained strong and vehicle inventory remains at record low levels. As supply chains begin to stabilize, the industry should see improving production in the second half of 2022. Industry forecasts indicate recovery continuing through 2023.
In our Aerospace business, demand for fabricated duct assemblies continued to be at pre-pandemic levels and we began to see demand recovery for welded and seamless tube products in the fourth quarter. We expect to see continued recovery in 2022. However, with the lingering impact from pandemic-related disruption in the air travel and resulting build-up of aircraft and supply chain inventories, the industry is not anticipated to return to 2019 demand levels until 2024.
End-market demand in Hydraulic Cylinders is strong and order backlogs in the industry remain high. However, global supply chain constraints and labor availability has hampered the ability of our OEM customers to ramp up production. We expect our sales to increase as OEM production increases. EBITDA margins in the segment declined over the one-year and two-year periods, primarily from lower volume partially offset by fixed cost actions taken last year.
Sales in our Furniture, Flooring & Textiles Products segment were up 17% versus fourth quarter 2020, primarily from raw material-related selling price increases and volume recovery in Work Furniture, partially offset by lower volume in Flooring products and Fabric Converting. Sales were up 22% versus fourth quarter 2019, primarily from raw material-related selling price increases and volume growth in Geo Components and Home Furniture partially offset by lower volume in Flooring products. We expect continued strength in our Home Furniture business in 2022 as customer backlogs remain elevated. So far this year, the Chinese market has slowed as most manufacturers are taking early and longer Chinese New Year holidays to avoid anticipated COVID-related quarantines.
Work Furniture sales recovered to pre-pandemic levels with steady demand for products sold for residential use and improving demand in the contract market. We expect modest growth in 2022 as residential and hybrid work products remain relatively strong and the contract market continues to gradually improve as employees return to the office. Volume in our Fabric Converting and Geo Components businesses have returned to more normalized level after experiencing pandemic-related sales opportunities in the back half of 2020. In Flooring products, residential demand remained strong while hospitality demand remained well below pre-pandemic levels. Volume was down in the quarter due to limited labor availability and transportation disruptions. EBITDA margins in the segment improved over the one-year and two-year periods primarily from pricing discipline.
For the Company, overall, the fixed cost actions we took in 2020 reduced our fourth quarter cost by approximately $20 million versus the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full year 2021, we maintained approximately $80 million of the approximately $90 million of fixed cost actions taken in 2020. We remain focused on controlling our costs by only adding fixed costs as necessary to support future growth opportunities. Leggett remains well-positioned both competitively and financially to capitalize on long-term opportunities in our various end markets. Our enduring fundamentals give us confidence in our ability to continue creating long-term value for our shareholders.
Jeff will now discuss our 2021 financial details and full year guidance for 2022.