Olive Garden says deals working; Darden 4Q profits down

June 21, 2013 3:28:30 PM PDT
Some popular restaurant chains say their menu price cuts are paying off.

Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, says deals like their 2-for-$25 dinner specials helped drive in customers in the last quarter.

The restaurants plan to promote more menu deals in the year ahead in hopes of luring more customers. Olive Garden sales are up 5 percent due to the price cuts.

Darden's fourth-quarter net income fell 12 percent on rising costs and expenses.

Comparable sales at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants rose 2.2 percent thanks to improving traffic.

For the period ended May 26, Darden Restaurants Inc. earned $133.2 million, or $1.01 per share. That compares with $151.2 million, or $1.15 per share, a year ago.

Removing acquisition-related costs, earnings were $1.02 per share, two cents shy of Wall Street estimates.

Revenue climbed 11 percent to $2.3 billion.

Darden, based in Orlando, Fla., said Friday that it expects fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings per share to be up between 4 percent and 6 percent.

The company raised its quarterly dividend 10 percent, to 55 cents per share.

Shares slipped less than 1 percent in premarket trading.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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