The owner of Olive Garden reported dynamite earnings, and the stock is leaping

John Greenough

Darden Restaurants, the owner of numerous restaurant chains including Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected earnings and guidance for its first fiscal quarter of 2017.

The restaurant group reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.88, higher than analyst estimates of $0.82 a share. Revenue missed slightly at $1.71 billion against estimates of $1.72 billion.

Sales increased by 1.6% across all Darden restaurants, higher than the estimated 1.4% rise. Olive Garden saw a sales increase of 2% over the same quarter last year, much higher than estimates for a 1.4% bump.

Darden also increased its outlook for the full year, raising earnings-per-share guidance to $3.87 to $3.97 for all of fiscal year 2017; the company had previously projected a range of $3.80 to $3.90 a share.

“We continued to gain market share and our same-restaurant sales growth outperformed the industry by a considerable margin,” CEO Gene Lee said in a press release. “We also returned significant capital to shareholders in the form of our regular dividend and $196 million in share repurchases.”

Following the news, shares of Darden were up by just under 6% in premarket trading at $65 a share, a $3.64 jump from Monday’s close, as of 7:40 a.m. ET.

Yahoo Finance