Darden Restaurants posted better than expected profit during its fiscal 2016 second quarter. It increased its dividend by 14 percent. Shartia Brantley reports.
Dining out remains in. At least when it comes to Darden Restaurants. The parent company of The Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze brands handily beat fiscal 2016 second quarter expectations with earnings of $0.54 per share. Analysts estimated profit of $0.42. The 54-cents per share was up from $0.28 a year ago. Revenue came in a bit shy at $1.61 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $1.62 billion in revenue. CEO Gene Lee said: "Our strong operating performance gives us the confidence to increase our outlook for the year, even with the increased costs associated with our comprehensive real estate strategy." The company recently spun off its Four Corners Property Trust in November which included 424 restaurants. Darden expects same-store sales for fiscal 2016 to grow between 2.5 percent to 3 percent, compared to 1.6 percent for the second quarter. The company increased its dividend by 14 percent to $0.50 per share and authorized a $500 million share buyback program. Shares of Darden were up in early trading.