Olive Garden Operator, Darden Restaurants, Beats Q1 Earnings, Raises FY Guidance

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. saw a nearly 5% pop after the company reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its fiscal year guidance above consensus. Net earnings for the quarter came in at $110.2 million, or 87 cents per share, compared with earnings of $86.4 million, or 67 cents per share during the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share were 88 cents, which beat the 82 cents FactSet consensus. Sales for the Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse operator hit $1.71 billion, which was an increase compared with last year's $1.69 billion, but just below the FactSet consensus of $1.72 billion. And same-restaurant sales were up 1.3%, below FactSet's expectations of 1.5%. For fiscal 2017 Darden still expects same-restaurant sales to increase 1% to 2%, but the company raised its earnings per share outlook to a $3.87 to $3.97 range, from a $3.80 to $3.90 range. The FactSet consensus is $3.87. Darden shares have declined 3.6% in the year to date, underperforming the S&P 500 Index , which is up 5.7%.

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