Words such as expect, believe and anticipate are a few examples of words identifying a forward-looking statements. Forward-looking information is subject to various risks and uncertainties, which could significantly affect expected results. Risk factors were noted in the news release issued this morning and are also described in Zebra’s 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010 which is on file with the SEC.
Now, let me turn the call over to Anders Gustafsson for some brief opening remarks.
Thank you, Doug, and good morning, everyone. Today Zebra reported solid fourth quarter financial results concluding another year of strong growth. Earnings from continuing operations advanced 20% to $0.63 per share on a 6% increase in sales to $247 million. For the fourth quarter, we maintained high profitability and generated $36 million in free cash flow.
Our robust and steady run rate business and several large deals led to record sales in Europe and near record sales in North America. Globally, record sales of mobile and card printers underscored solid performance in several product categories, as we helped more customers in targeted industries, improved business performance by enabling them to see more and do more.
Fourth quarter results demonstrate the great value of Zebra’s industry leadership. Investing in those areas that deliver the highest risk-adjusted returns, we gained share on the strength of expanded channel relationships and the more competitive line of innovative products.
Our fourth quarter performance caps a very successful year for Zebra. For all of 2011, we achieved 10% sales growth, with records sales in all international regions and in multiple product lines. Increases in gross margin and effective expense management drove operating leverage and a 2% increase in operating margin to 18.5%.
We invested more than $160 million to repurchase 4.4 million shares of Zebra stock and delivered a 32% increase in earnings from continuing operations to a record $2.40 per share. With a net gain on the sale of Navis and proveo net income for the year was $3.22 per share.