Darden Restaurants Inc. shares rose 2.7% in Tuesday premarket trading after the restaurant company, whose portfolio of chains include Olive Garden and The Capital Grille, reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that beat estimates. Net income totaled $123.8 million, or 98 cents per share, down from $139.6 million, or $1.09 per share, for the same period last year. Adjusted EPS was $1.18, beating the $1.15 per share FactSet consensus. Revenue totaled $1.93 billion, up from $1.79 billion last year and ahead of the $1.87 billion FactSet consensus. Same-restaurant sales increased 3.3% for the quarter, excluding recent acquisition Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen. Same-restaurant sales increased most for Olive Garden (up 4.4%), Longhorn Steakhouse (up 3.5%), and Eddie V's (up 3.3%). Same-restaurant sales were up 0.1% for Yard House and fell 1.3% Seasons 52. For fiscal 2018, Darden expects same-restaurant sales to increase 1% to 2%, sales to increase 11.5% to 13%, and adjusted EPS of $4.38 to $4.50. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $4.41. Darden shares are up 38.7% for the last 12 months, outpacing the S&P 500 index , which has increased 22%.
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