Darden’s Boost Revenue and Dividend, but Profit Misses

Darden’s Restaurants Inc on Friday reported its profits for the fiscal fourth quarter. The profits were lower than last year, despite revenue improving in its entire range of restaurants. The lower profits reflect higher costs as well as expenses.

The earnings for the company per share did not reach the expectations of analysts, but revenue for the quarter did exceed estimates by Wall Street.

Growth guidance was also given by Darden for its earnings and revenue for all of 2014. The restaurant company increased its cash dividend in the amount of 10%. Dividends are paid quarterly.

The Orlando, Florida based Darden’s reported net earnings for the fourth quarter of $133 million or per share of $1.01. This was less than last year’s fourth quarter of $152 million and a per share rate of $1.15. Wall Street analysts had estimated that the earnings would be $1.04 per share.

Revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter was higher by 11.3% to $2.3 billion compared to the same quarter last year of $2.07 billion. Walls Street’s projections were beaten, as analysts had predicted sales of $2.27 billion.

The three largest of its restaurant Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse all showed increases in sales.

Olive Garden sales for the quarter were $952 million, which represented a 5.3% increase.

Red Lobster sales ended the quarter at $703 million or an increase of 3.3%, while Longhorn Steakhouse ended the quarter at $339 million in sales representing an increase of 14% over the same quarter a year ago.

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