Darden Provides Profit And Sales Outlook Above Expectations, Names New CFO

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Darden Restaurants Inc.'s stock rose 1.3% in light premarket trade Wednesday, after the operator of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant chains provided a fiscal third-quarter outlook that was above expectations, and named a chief financial officer. For the quarter ended Feb. 28, the company expects adjusted earnings per share of $1.18 to $1.21, up from 99 cents a year ago, and above the FactSet consensus of $1.06. Same-store sales are expected to rise 6%, above the FactSet consensus of 2.7%. "Our continued success and momentum is a direct result of executing against our plan and maintaining our focus on consistently delivering outstanding guest experiences," said Chief Executive Eugene Lee. Darden said it appointed Ricardo Cardenas as its CFO, to replace Jeffrey Davis who left to pursue other opportunities. Cardenas has been with Darden since 1984, most recently at chief strategy officer. The stock has gained 1.5% year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has lost 3.2%.

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