Earnings for Darden Restaurants up 10% in quarter

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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ORLANDO, FLA. — For the second quarter ended Nov. 23, net earnings for Darden Restaurants, Inc. were $59.7 million, equal to 44c per share on the common stock, up 37% from $43.5 million, or 31c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $1,668.9 million, up 10% from $1,522 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

For the six months ended Nov. 23, the company had net earnings of $141.7 million, or $1.03 per share, up 5% from $149.4 million, or $1.06 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the period were $3,443.1 million, up 15% from $2,989.5 million during the same period of the previous year.

Darden said it expects combined U.S. same-store restaurant sales declines in fiscal 2009 of about 1.25% to 2.25% for Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. The company also expects total sales growth of between 8% and 9% in fiscal 2009.

"We had solid financial performance given the challenging economic environment," said Clarence Otis, chairman and chief executive officer. "We recognize that consumers are under incredible pressure and are more discerning about how and where they spend their discretionary income. So our teams are more focused than ever on creating great offerings and delivering great experiences. And we are working harder than ever to aggressively manage costs to assure our offerings and experiences provide outstanding value. As we look to the balance of the fiscal year, we believe consumers will remain under pressure and our revised sales and earnings outlook reflects that belief."

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