Darden’s earnings up, but sales down
Darden Restaurants on Tuesday reported first-quarter sales of USD 1.73 billion (EUR 1.18 billion), down from USD 1.77 billion during the same period last year (EUR 121 billion).
However, the casual-dining giant posted net earnings from continuing operations of USD 95 million (EUR 64.9 million) in the first quarter, up from USD 82.4 million (EUR 56.3 million) last year.
“We are pleased to report solid earnings growth for the quarter in such a difficult macro-economic environment,” said Darden Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis. “Despite the challenges, our brands once again posted meaningfully stronger sales results than our industry as measured by the Knapp-Track™ benchmark.”
Red Lobster’s first-quarter sales totaled USD 605 million (EUR 413.3 million), down 6.3 percent from last year, largely due to a 7.9 percent drop in U.S. same-restaurant sales but partially offset by revenue from the addition of 11 restaurants. The chain’s U.S. same-restaurant sales were down 11 percent in June, 6 percent in July and 6 percent in August.
During the first quarter, which ended 30 August, lower food and beverage expenses were partially offset by increased labor expenses and other expenses.
As for Darden’s other concepts, U.S. same-restaurant sales slipped 2.9 percent at Olive Garden and 6.2 percent LongHorn Steakhouse. The Orlando, Fla., company also operates The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
Red Lobster has a total of 1,778 restaurant in North American, including 661 Red Lobster locations in the United States and 29 in Canada.