Darden Retaurants’ Earnings: All Sizzle, No Steak

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Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) released its fiscal first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The company posted $1.38 in earnings per share (EPS) and $2.13 billion in revenue. That compares with consensus estimates of $1.36 in EPS and $2.14 billion in revenue, as well as the $1.34 per share and $2.06 billion reported in the same period of last year.

During the latest quarter, total sales increased 3.5% year over year, driven by the addition of 40 net new restaurants and a blended same-restaurant sales increase of 0.9%. In terms of its brands, Darden reported same-restaurant sales growth as follows:

  • Olive Garden, +2.2%
  • Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, −5.4%
  • LongHorn Steakhouse, +2.6%
  • Yard House, −1.9%
  • The Capital Grille, +1.5%
  • Seasons 52, −4.2%
  • Eddie V’s, +1.2%
  • Bahama Breeze, −4.2%

For the fiscal 2020 full year, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $6.30 to $6.45 and total sales growth of 5.3% to 6.3%. Consensus estimates call for $6.40 in EPS and $9.05 billion in revenue for the year.

CEO Gene Lee commented:

I’m pleased with our results this quarter as we continued to gain market share. Our teams remained focused on improving the guest experience by focusing on our back-to-basics operating philosophy and leveraging our competitive advantages, all while managing costs effectively.

Shares of Darden traded down 3.5% at $122.60 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $95.83 to $128.41. The consensus price target is $127.32.


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