Shares of Darden Up After Posting Higher Earnings
Darden raised its outlook for earnings as well for its fiscal year, sending shares of the company 1.7% higher shortly after markets opened Friday.
The results were positive for Darden after an activist investor group won every one of the 12 seats on the board of directors for Darden’s after criticizing the ability of management to run the company.
Reporting sales that were higher at Olive Garden, the company, based in Orlando, Florida, also reported its other eateries had higher sales.
Darden said its profits for the period ending February 22 were $133.7 million equal to $1.05 a share. Earnings adjusted for gains or costs that were one time reached 99 cents, which topped the 84 cents a share forecasted by analysts.
Sales during the third quarter were up 6.9% to end the quarter at $1.73 billion reported Darden. That passed the $1.72 projected by analysts. Gene Lee the CEO at Darden said the company strategy was to get back to the basics and elevate the food, atmosphere and service in its restaurants to deliver the guest’s best possible experience in driving sales and profitability improvements.
Comparable sales in restaurants for the most recent quarter increased by 3.6%, announced Darden, including an increase of 2.2% for Olive Garden, a jump of 5.4% for LongHorn Steakhouse and an increase of 61.% for The Capital Grill.
The company projected earnings in the fourth quarter of between 91 cents and 94 cents a diluted share, which is an increase of 69% to 74% from the same three month period last year.
Darden raised its fiscal 2015 year long outlook forecasting annual adjusted per share earnings of $2.45 to $2.48. That is an increase of between 43% and 45% from last year and reflects an impact from its accelerated buyback program of shares of the company stock.