Olive Garden parent shares fall after disappointing same-stores sales

Earnings Associated Press

FILE - This Monday, June 27, 2016, file photo shows an Olive Garden restaurant in Methuen, Mass. Darden Restaurants Inc. reports financial results Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing comparable-stores sales at the company that runs Olive Garden and other restaurants overshadowed strong profit and revenue during the first quarter.

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Those sales, which are watched closely by industry analysts, rose 1.7 percent at Darden Restaurants Inc., short of the 2.1 percent growth Wall Street had expected, according to a poll by FactSet.

Shares fell almost 4 percent to $80 before the market opened Tuesday.

New restaurants helped fuel overall revenue and profit growth during the quarter.

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Profit jumped 8 percent to $119 million, or 93 cents per share, Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and to account for discontinued operations, came to 99 cents per share, a penny better than expected, according to a poll of analysts by Zacks Investment Research.

Sales rose 12.9 percent to $1.94 billion, with both Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse seeing key sales gains. That also edged out expectations.

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The restaurant operator, based in Orlando, Florida, expects full-year earnings in the range of $4.38 to $4.50 per share. The estimate, which includes the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, is in line with Wall Street projections of $4.47.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DRI at https://www.zacks.com/ap/DRI

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