John G. Morikis
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Sherwin-Williams
Thank you, Jim, and good morning to everyone listening. Before getting into some color on our three segments, I'd like to frame today's call with some themes we're seeing across the business. First, demand remains very strong across most of the business. Our teams are highly engaged and focused on growing volume through new accounts and share of wallet, as well as reactivating customers that may have shopped elsewhere to meet the needs of a specific project over the past year due to product availability challenges. Second, raw material availability improved meaningfully, late in the quarter. And this has continued into the second quarter. We do not expect lack of raw materials to have a material impact on sales going forward. To be clear, the supply chain has not completely recovered as the bottleneck has now largely moved from suppliers' production to their transportation and logistics. In the near term, we're speeding this recovery by employing our own fleet and tank wagons to supplement suppliers' delivery capabilities. Our ability in this area is unique among our competitors. We also are focusing on SKU prioritization and formulations to make the most of the raw materials that are available to us. Additionally, the Specialty Polymers acquisition is meaningfully contributing to our resin needs. Third, inventory in our stores and distribution centers is in a markedly better place than it was at the end of December. The 50 million gallons of incremental architectural capacity we brought on in the fourth quarter is up and running. As the supply of raw materials, improves, we are quickly converting those materials to paint. In fact, we made more architectural paint gallons in March than in any previous month in our company's history. We expect to run this additional capacity at a high rate to keep up with demand through the painting season and then begin building inventory in our fourth quarter as we typically would.
And looking to the future, we announced a $300 million investment to begin expanding production and distribution at our Statesville North Carolina architectural facility that serves both TAG and CPG, which will be completed in 2024. Finally, inflation remains significant and is trending toward the high end of the guidance we previously provided. In addition to raw materials, we've seen increases in other elements of the cost basket including freight, energy, and labor. As we've said in the past, our continuous improvement efforts are focused on offsetting these increased costs. Additionally, we've been aggressive with pricing actions in all our businesses to offset these costs and we'll continue to do so as necessary.
As far as our first quarter, I'll keep my comments brief in order to get to our outlook. In the Americas Group, sales growth in the first quarter was led by protective and marine and property management, both of which were up by a double-digit percentage. New residential, residential repaint, and commercial were up by a mid-single-digit percentage. DIY was down double-digits as we faced a strong double-digit comparison and prioritized sales to professional contractors. We've also begun to see margin recovery in the business as segment margin expanded sequentially. From a product perspective, exterior paint sales performed better than interior sales, with interior being the larger part of the mix. We realized a low double-digit increase in price in the first quarter with volume remaining under pressure. The 12% price increase we announced on February 1 is going in as planned.
We opened four net new stores in the first quarter and still plan 80 to 100 for the year. We also continued our growth investments in sales reps, management trainees, innovative new products, e-commerce, and productivity-enhancing services. Moving onto our Consumer Brands Group. While this business faced a very challenging comparison, we're encouraged by our sales in North America, which were nearly flat as we continue to focus on supporting key strategic retail partners and growing our Pros Who Paint initiative. Sales were softer in Europe and China as we faced double-digit comparisons and COVID-related lockdowns. Note that we have now anniversaried [Phonetic] the Wattyl divestiture, which was a drag on Group sales of about 6 percentage points in the quarter. Pricing was positive in the quarter and in the high single-digit range.
Segment margin expanded significantly on a sequential basis, benefiting from increased volume, leverage on SG&A, and incremental pricing. Last, let me comment on first-quarter trends in Performance Coatings Group. Group sales increased by 20.4% in the quarter, including high single-digit volume growth against a double-digit comparison. Price realization was in the low teens range and all regions and all divisions generated growth. As in the other groups, we saw a meaningful sequential margin improvement during the quarter. Regionally, sales in the quarter grew fastest in North America, followed by Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Every division in the Group grew with nearly all by double-digits, driven by robust underlying demand, new customer wins, share of wallet gains, and pricing. Packaging was strongest, followed by Coil, General Industrial, Auto Refinish, and Industrial Wood, respectively.
Before moving to our outlook, let me speak to capital allocation in the quarter. We returned approximately $558 million to our shareholders in the quarter in the form of dividends and share buybacks. We invested $407 million to purchase 1.45 million shares at an average price of $280.77. We distributed $150.9 million in dividends. We also invested $106.3 million in our business through capital expenditures, including $77 million in core capex and $29 million for our Building Our Futures project. Additionally, the acquisition of Sika's European Industrial Coatings business closed on April 1. We ended the quarter with a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.3 times as we increased short-term borrowing to fund our share repurchases and the Sika acquisition. We expect to be closer to the high end of our 2 times to 2.5 times range by the end of the year.
Turning to our outlook. As I referenced earlier, we continue to see very strong demand in North America pro architectural end markets, though we are facing a comparison to a strong double-digit growth quarter that was driven by very robust post-pandemic recovery. Comparisons will ease in the back half of the year. Rising mortgage rates have not made an appreciable dent in the demand for our new residential customers to this point. Should new residential demand slow, we remain extremely well-positioned in multiple architectural segments, including residential repaint and property management, which has proven to be more defensive in nature. We expect industrial demand will remain strong as the year progresses based on the outlook our customers have shared with us. Comparisons will be challenging over the remainder of the year. Demand remained strongest in North America, our largest region. European demand also remained strong, although we continue to closely monitor for potential impacts from the war in Ukraine. For the record, our sales in Russia and Belarus are well below 1% of the total company sales and we are suspending operations in these regions.
In Asia and in China, in particular [Phonetic], demand has been dampened near term by the latest COVID-19 wave. On the architectural and industrial sides, we'll continue to leverage our strengths in innovation, value-added services, and differentiated distribution as we expect to grow at a rate that outpaces the market. From a supply chain perspective, we believe we are through the most challenging aspects. As I described in my earlier comments, we expect this to continue improving and to have a minimal impact on sales going forward.
On the cost side of the equation, we are maintaining our low double-digit to mid-teens raw material inflation guidance though we are trending toward the high-end of the range, driven primarily by Performance Coatings Group. There is considerable short-term volatility in the market and our visibility beyond the quarter or two is limited. We do expect the level of year-over-year inflation to remain elevated, but to moderate in the back half of the year. Our pricing actions remain on track and we're prepared for additional increases if necessary.
For the second quarter of 2022, we anticipate our consolidated net sales will increase by a low double-digit to mid-teens percentage compared to the second quarter of 2021, inclusive of a low double-digit price increase. We expect the Americas Group to be up by a high single-digit to low double-digit percentage. We expect Consumer Brands to be up by a high teens to a low 20 percentage [Phonetic], and we expect Performance Coatings to be up by a low double-digit to mid-teens percentage.
Our full-year guidance is heavily second-half weighted due to stronger volume, the impact of pricing actions, and weaker second-half 2021 comparisons. I'll remind you, we began 2021 with great momentum, including first-half sales growth of 14.7% [Phonetic] and adjusted EPS growth of 26.6% before the natural disasters, supply chain, and COVID issues derailed the second half of the year. For the full year 2022, our guidance remains unchanged. We expect consolidated net sales to increase by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage. We expect the Americas Group to be up a mid to high single-digit percentage with North American paint stores at or above the high end of the range.
We expect Consumer Brands Group to be up a low to mid-single-digit, percentage and Performance Coatings Group to be up by a high single to low double-digit percentage. We expect diluted net income per share for 2022 to be in the range of $8.40 to $8.80 per share compared to $6.98 per share earned in 2021. Full-year 2022 earnings per share guidance includes acquisition-related amortization expense of approximately $0.85 per share. On an adjusted basis, we expect full-year 2022 earnings per share of $9.25 and $9.65, an increase of 16% at the midpoint over the $8.15 [Phonetic] we delivered in 2021.
The additional data points we provided last quarter on full-year currency exchange, tax rate, capex, interest expense, depreciation and amortization, are unchanged. As we enter the heart of the painting season, we remain confident in our strategy, our capabilities, and the differentiated product and service solutions we bring to customers. The 61,000 employees of Sherwin-Williams are focused on the tasks at hand and there is no better team in the industry. Our business remains extremely well-positioned, and we are emerging as an even stronger Sherwin-Williams following the challenges we faced the last two years. I'm excited by the momentum we are gaining as we progress towards what we expect will be a very strong second-half of the year.
In addition to today's call, I'll remind you, we will provide additional commentary on the market and our business at our upcoming Financial Community Presentation event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 8 in New York City. Details are available on our website. And we're very much looking forward to seeing many of you in person.
And that concludes our prepared remarks. We'll be happy to take your questions at this time.