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Darden Restaurants: 2013 Outlook Misses Estimates

The company's fourth-quarter earnings met expectations


Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) posted fiscal fourth-quarter income from continuing operations of $151.6 million, up nearly 10% from the same time last year.

EPS from continuing operations for the fourth quarter was $1.15, on sales of $2.07 billion, up 3.8% from 2011.

New Taco Bell Snack Is Chain’s Most Popular Item Ever
New Taco Bell Snack Is Chain’s Most Popular Item Ever

The earnings met Wall Street’s expectations, but sales narrowly missed analysts’ forecast of $2.11 billion, Reuters noted.

The company also said that fiscal 2013 earnings would come in between 8% and 12% higher than 2012. EPS for 2013 would fall between $3.87 and $4.01. That disappointed analysts who were looking for $4.05.

Sales at Darden’s Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants slipped 1.9% during the fourth quarter, missing analysts’ prediction of 1% growth.

The company blamed the slow U.S. recovery for the weak sales numbers, noting that customers had been trimming their orders and focusing on cheaper dishes.

Analysts noted that Darden was beginning to adopt the sort of discounts and promotions used by rivals including Brinker International‘s (NYSE:EAT) Chili’s Grill & Bar and DineEquity‘s (NYSE:DIN) Applebee’s.

Darden shares slipped about 1% in Friday afternoon trading.

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