Darden sees profit boost, but key measure falls short

Disappointing comparable-stores sales at the company that runs Olive Garden and other restaurants overshadowed strong profit and revenue during the first quarter.

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.

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.

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.


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


Keywords: Darden Restaurants, Earnings Report