Darden Restaurants' Fourth Quarter Profits Increase


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 24, 2008

Darden Restaurants of Orlando, Fla., yesterday posted higher fourth-quarter profits for fiscal 2008, boosted by Olive Garden, which continued to attract casual diners in the weak economy, and lower costs that helped increase operating profit at Red Lobster.

Chief Operating Officer Drew Madsen said in a statement the quarter and fiscal year had been "challenging," but added the company's brands outperformed the industry.

However, U.S. same-store sales fell 0.2 percent at Red Lobster. Lower food, restaurant and general costs offset higher labor costs and helped boost operating profit, Darden said. Red Lobster is North America's largest casual seafood chain with 682 U.S. and Canadian restaurants.

Overall profit in the fourth quarter ending May 25 from continuing operations was $103.3 million, or 72 cents per share, up from $98.5 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue from continuing operations rose 25 percent in the quarter to $1.83 billion.

The company said U.S. same-store sales in fiscal 2009 at its Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains should rise about 2 percent.

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