Fortune Brands Home & Security fell into the red during the fourth quarter with a $105.3 million operating loss after posting a $36.4 million operating income during the same period a year ago, the company announced today. Despite seeing shades of red, net sales at the company improved by 4% to reach $876.1 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

“Our sales growth continued into the fourth quarter, despite a market for our products that remained challenging,” said Chris Klein, CEO of Fortune Brands Home & Security. “Overall, we performed at the high end of our expectations and we believe we continue to outperform the market for our products.”

The Deerfield, Ill.-based manufacturer, which produces brands such as Master Lock, Moen faucets, and Therma-Tru entry doors, posted an $11.5 million operating loss for the year, caused largely by increases in cost of products sold, selling, general and administrative expenses, and a fourth quarter $90 million asset impairment charge. The company reported an operating income of $198.4 million last year. Net sales for the year grew 3% to $3.33 billion.

The company was part of a split of Fortune Brands, which spun off its home products operations into two separate businesses: Fortune Brands Home & Security and Beam, which distills various alcoholic beverages. The spin-off occurred in January 2010.

The company’s kitchen and bath cabinetry segment, which produces MasterBrand cabinets, revealed a 5% increase in net sales to $301.7 million despite falling deeper into the red with a $15.2 million operating loss. For the year, the segment saw operating income fall 80% to $5.7 million, even though sales grew almost 6% to $1.26 billion.

The plumbing and accessories segment reported a 12% increase in operating income to hit $39.2 million during the quarter, while sales rose 8% to $258.1 million. The segment also reported operating income of $138 million for the year. Net sales for the year were $962.8 million, a 4% growth.

Advanced material windows and door systems announced an 11% dip in sales to $153.7 million, while operating loss plunged into the red during the quarter with a $91.6 million loss. For the year, the segment’s net sales fell 8% to $552.9 million, while its operating loss plummeted to $101 million from a $17.6 million profit in 2010.

The security and storage segment, under which the Master Lock brand and Husky garage organization products fall, posted an almost 13% rise in net sales, to reach $162.6 million, in the quarter, while operating income more than doubled to $16.9 million. The segment’s year-end results included a 7% increase in sales to $556.6 million and a 16% jump in operating income to $62.6 million.

“Our plumbing and security and storage segments showed ongoing strength, while consumer hesitancy with big-ticket items continued to impact our cabinets and windows and door segments,” said Klein.

Operating loss due to corporate expenses more than quadrupled during the quarter to a $54.6 million loss. For the year, the loss more than doubled to $116.6 million.

“We continued to win in this challenging environment, and we are poised to keep the momentum going,” Klein said. “Our companies plan to announce new products and programs across all segments this year that will represent the next phases of our product innovation and market expansion.”