Deidra Cheeks Merriwether
Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President at W.W. Grainger
Thanks, DG. I'd like to echo DG's sentiments. Our execution and teamwork in the first quarter drove very strong results. Turning to slide eight. We covered revenue and margins at the total company level, and I'll get into more detail on the segments in a minute. Before we do, I'd like to highlight a few other key points. Our total company SG&A as a percentage of sales was 23.3%, gaining solid leverage over the prior-period first quarter. Given our investments in the DCs at MonotaRO and our continued strategic initiatives in High-Touch Solutions, I am proud of the way the team concurrently managed these investments as well as operating expenses to support strong top-line performance in the quarter.
Finally, resulting EPS in the quarter was $7.07, up 58% versus the first quarter of 2021. Turning now to our High-Touch Solutions segment for the first quarter. We continue to see strong results with daily sales up 18.2%, compared to the first quarter of 2021. We saw impressive growth across the board with double-digit revenue growth across all of our North American geographies and both large and midsize customers. In the U.S., we saw a strong price realization from our recent pricing actions and delivered strong growth in every end market, with particular strength in commercial, transportation and heavy manufacturing. In Canada, the economy has rallied back, and the business saw year-over-year sales growth in nearly every end market, with manufacturing especially strong this quarter.
Canadian daily sales were up 10% or 11.8% in local days and local currency. For the segment, GP finished the quarter at 40.4%, up 310 basis points versus the prior year. If we exclude the first quarter 2021 pandemic product inventory adjustment, we still achieved gross margin expansion of roughly 80 basis points. This expansion was largely driven by favorable product mix and also aided by the return of the in-person Grainger Show in February. While the sale provided a modest tailwind in the quarter, it is expected to net out as we move through the balance of the year. Given the timing of price and cost increases in the quarter, our price/cost spread was favorable. However, when netted against increased freight costs, it was largely neutral.
I'll also note that our pandemic mix at the end of the quarter was back to near prepandemic levels at just above 20% of sales mix, and we continue to see similar results through the first few weeks of April. While we have included our pandemic-related sales in the appendix for this period, given that we have returned to prepandemic mix levels, we do not expect to provide this information in subsequent quarters. At the operating margin line, we saw improvement of 395 basis points year-over-year as the strong gross margin recovery was aided by 85 basis points of operational expense leverage. Overall, an extremely solid quarter for the High-Touch Solutions North American segment. Looking at market outgrowth on Slide 10, we estimate that the U.S. MRO market grew between 12.5% and 13.5%, indicating that we achieved roughly 550 basis points of market outgrowth in the quarter.
As I've gone out and spent time with customers and investors over the last few months, we often are asked about the drivers of our share gain. We know our supply chain scale and our ability to deliver products to customers has been strong. We also know that by focusing on and investing in the right areas like remerchandising our assortment, increasing our use of analytically-driven marketing and improving the effectiveness of our salesforce, we can consistently deliver growth above the market. We continue to execute well, and our goal to achieve 300 to 400 basis points of annual market outgrowth remains intact.
Moving to our Endless Assortment segment. Sales increased 12.1% or 10.4% on a daily basis. Results were heavily impacted by foreign exchange, given the depreciation of the Japanese yen. In local currency and local days, MonotaRO achieved 18.4% growth, whereas Zoro U.S. daily sales were up over 19%, both very strong. Growth continues to be driven by new customer acquisition at both Zoro and MonotaRO and MonotaRO's continued success with enterprise customers. GP expanded 10 basis points versus the first quarter of 2021, while operating margins declined 95 basis points as planned. This decline was primarily a result of our increased DC investments at MonotaRO and was partially offset by Zoro's operating margin expansion, which improved 90 basis points over the first quarter of 2021 on strong GP improvement.
Please note the slide covering channel-specific performance for Zoro and MonotaRO is included in the appendix. In addition, we've also continued to see positive results in our key operating metrics. On Slide 12, you can see registered users are up 20% over the prior period. You'll see the count of registered users for Zoro has been restated for prior reporting. In 2021, Zoro made a strategic pivot away from certain less productive channels, allowing them to focus on more profitable B2B customers, who also have a higher likelihood to make repeat purchases. These all drives higher lifetime-value customers to Zoro. As a result, we've elected to remove these customers from this metric, which lowers the nominal user count for Zoro, but the growth rate remains relatively consistent to what we have shown in the past. We think this is a more accurate way to reflect this metric, and we will use this new definition, going forward. On the right, we show the continued growth of the Zoro SKU portfolio.
We are targeting around two million SKU additions again in 2022 and are off to a good start as we continue to onboard more strategic third-party partner -- supplier partners. Now looking forward to the rest of the year. We're off to a great start and results remained strong in April, with total company daily sales trending up around 20%. While we don't typically adjust our guidance expectations after a quarter and acknowledge the broad market uncertainty, our conversations with customers' results to date and continued momentum give us confidence to make a change at this time. As a result, we are raising our 2022 full-year guidance. Our new outlook includes expected daily sales growth between 11% and 14% and EPS between $25 and $27, representing over 30% earnings growth year-over-year at the midpoint. We've also updated our supplemental guidance in the appendix, which reflects a slight upward revision in the High-Touch Solutions operating margin and an increase in total company operating cash flow.
With that, I'll turn it back to DG for some closing remarks.