John G. Sznewajs
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Masco
Thank you, Keith, and good morning, everyone. As Dave mentioned, my comments today will focus on adjusted performance, excluding the impact of rationalization and other onetime items. Turning to slide seven. We capitalized on the continued healthy demand for our industry-leading brands, delivered a solid start to the year with sales increasing 12% in the quarter against a robust 25% comp in the first quarter of last year. Net selling prices increased sales by 9%.
The higher volumes increased sales by 5%. This was partially offset by 1% each related to currency and divestitures. Sales grew 14%, excluding the net impacts of acquisitions, divestitures and currency. In local currency, North American sales increased 14%. This outstanding performance was driven by strong growth in both DIY and pro paint as well as faucets, showers and spas. The main drivers of this growth were increased net selling prices which increased sales by 9%, the higher sales volumes which increased sales by 3%.
In local currency, international sales increased 12%, or 18% excluding divestitures. Higher volumes increased sales by 9%. Net selling prices increased sales by 7%. Favorable mix added 1%. The gross margin of 32.1% was impacted by higher commodity and logistics costs in the quarter. As we discussed in our previous earnings call, price/cost had a peak impact on our P&L in the fourth quarter of 2021, and we experienced a 140 basis point sequential improvement in the first quarter of 2022.
Our SG&A as a percentage of sales improved 110 basis points to 15.9% due to operating leverage and continued cost-containment activities across our businesses. Operating profit in the first quarter was $356 million and operating margin of 16.2%. Our EPS was $0.95 in the quarter, an increase of 7% compared to the first quarter of 2021. Turning to slide eight. Plumbing growth was 9%, or 12% excluding the net impacts of currency, acquisitions and divestitures.
This strong performance was achieved against a healthy 22% comp in the first quarter of last year. Pricing and volume contributed approximately equally to segment growth. North American sales increased 10% in local currency. This performance was led by Delta as they drove strong growth across their wholesale, retail and e-commerce channels. Watkins Wellness was also a contributor to growth as they continue to capitalize on increasing demand and the increasing trend towards outdoor living.
International Plumbing sales increased 12% in local currency, or 18% excluding divestitures. Hansgrohe grew across their markets with particular strength in the key markets of Germany, China, France and the U.K. Segment operating profit in the first quarter was $228 million and operating margin was 16.8%, a 410 basis point sequential improvement in margin. Operating profit was impacted by inflation and higher variable costs on items such as personnel and marketing expenses, which was partially offset by higher net selling prices and incremental volume.
Turning to slide nine. Decorative Architectural sales increased 17% for the first quarter. Our Pro paint business delivered another quarter of more than 50% growth, driven by ongoing momentum with pro customers as we continued to deliver value to these customers through our service capabilities and our innovative, high-quality products. This, coupled with our strong operational execution, resulted in further share gains in our Pro business. We expect pro paint demand to remain strong, and we continue to invest in the pro along with our partner, The Home Depot, in new services to retain and grow our penetration with the pro customer.
Our DIY business also performed well in the quarter. Sales grew low double digits against a strong comp in the first quarter of last year. Operating profit was $158 million in the quarter, up $16 million or 11%, and operating margin was 18.8%. This performance was driven by higher net selling prices and incremental volume, partially offset by higher commodity costs and variable expenses, along with investments to drive future growth. Turning to slide 10. Our balance sheet is strong with net debt-to-EBITDA at 1.7 times.
We ended the quarter with approximately $1.2 billion of balance sheet liquidity. Working capital as a percent of sales was 20.1%. This percentage was elevated in the first quarter, largely due to higher inventory levels to meet the demand of our customers, cost inflation and delays in receipts and delivery of materials. Despite these challenges, through focused execution, we continue to refine our inventory levels, expect working capital as a percent of sales to be approximately 16.5% at year-end. We also continued our focus on shareholder value creation by deploying $414 million to share repurchases during the first four months of the year.
With our aggressive repurchase of stock in Q1 and our current outlook, we now anticipate repurchasing approximately $900 million for the full year, an increase from our previous guidance of approximately $600 million. To facilitate this, yesterday, we executed a $500 million one year term loan from a group of banks to provide additional liquidity for share repurchases. We anticipate deploying this $500 million shortly in the form of an accelerated share repurchase transaction.
Concurrently, we extended the maturity of our $1 billion revolving credit facility by three years to April of 2027. Finally, let's turn to slide 11 and review our outlook for 2022. With our strong first quarter performance, additional pricing actions and favorable outlook for our markets, we now expect full year sales growth for Masco in the range of 7% to 11%, excluding foreign currency, up from our previous guidance of 4% to 8%. We anticipate full year operating margins to be in the range of 17% to 17.5%.
In our Plumbing segment, we now expect 2022 sales growth to be in the range of 5% to 9%, excluding foreign currency, up from our previous guidance of 3% to 7%. Given current exchange rates, foreign currency is expected to unfavorably impact Plumbing revenue by approximately 2% or $90 million. We anticipate the full year Plumbing margins will be in the range of 18.5% to 19%. In our Decorative Architectural segment, we expect 2022 sales to grow in the range of 10% to 14%, up from our previous guidance of 6% to 10%.
Looking specifically at paint growth for 2022, we currently anticipate our DIY business to increase low double digits, up from our previous guidance of high single digits; and our Pro business to increase high teens, up from our previous guidance of mid-teens. We anticipate the full year Decorative Architectural margin to be approximately 17.5% to 18%. As we have previously discussed, in this segment, pricing actions typically only recover the dollar amount of inflation.
As a result, all else equal, operating dollars remain neutral from cost recovery pricing action but results in margin compression. Finally, as Keith mentioned earlier, our updated 2022 EPS estimate is $4.15 to $4.35, which represents 15% EPS growth at the midpoint of the range. This assumes a 236 million average diluted share count for the full year. Additional modeling assumptions for 2022 can be found on slide 14 in our earnings deck.
With that, I would like to open the call for Q&A. Operator? Mary, we'd like to open up the call for Q&A.