- Darden Restaurants reported earnings, revenue, and same-store sales that topped Wall Street estimates.
- The restaurant group raised its dividend by 19%.
- Shares are up 9%.
Darden Restaurants, the owner of numerous restaurant chains including Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected earnings and guidance, and raised its quarterly dividend. Shares are up 9% following the results.
The restaurant group reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.39 a share, topping the $1.35 that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. Revenue jumped 10.3% versus a year ago to $2.134 billion, edging out the $2.126 billion that was anticipated.
Blended same-store sales from the restaurant group’s legacy brands rose 2.2% as both Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse saw 2.4% year-over-year gains. The one weak spot was Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, which saw same-store sales fall 4.7%.
“Our solid fourth quarter results concluded another strong year of performance as we executed our back-to-basics operating philosophy and strengthened our competitive advantages,” CEO Gene Lee said in the statement. “Our strategy remains unchanged, and our operators’ consistent focus on being brilliant with the basics has allowed us to continue building guest loyalty while taking market share.”
Darden raised its quarterly dividend by 19% to $0.75 a share.
Looking ahead to fiscal year 2019, the restaurant group sees same-store sales growth of 1% to 2%, and plans to open 45 to 50 new stores.