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Darden Restaurants, Inc.$99.53($.29)(.29%)

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 Darden Restaurants Reports Fiscal 2020 First Quarter Results; Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend; Authorizes New $500 Million Share Repurchase Program; And Reaffirms Financial Outlook For The Full Fiscal Year
   Thursday, September 19, 2019 7:00:00 AM ET

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended August 25, 2019.

First Quarter 2020 Financial Highlights, Comparisons Versus Same Fiscal Quarter Last Year

  • Total sales increased 3.5% to $2.13 billion driven by the addition of 40 net new restaurants and a blended same-restaurant sales increase of 0.9%
  • Same-restaurant sales by brand:

  • Reported diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations increased 3.0% to $1.38 compared to last year's diluted net earnings per share
  • The Company repurchased approximately $95 million of its outstanding common stock

"I'm pleased with our results this quarter as we continued to gain market share," said CEO Gene Lee. "Our teams remained focused on improving the guest experience by focusing on our back-to-basics operating philosophy and leveraging our competitive advantages, all while managing costs effectively."

Segment Performance
Segment profit represents sales, less costs for food and beverage, restaurant labor, restaurant expenses and marketing expenses.  Beginning in fiscal 2020, our calculation of segment profit now excludes non-cash real estate related expenses.  Fiscal 2019 segment profit has been restated to conform to the current year presentation.

U.S. Same-Restaurant Sales Results

Dividend Declared
Darden's Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.88 per share on the Company's outstanding common stock. The dividend is payable on November 1, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 10, 2019.

Share Repurchase Program
During the quarter, the Company repurchased approximately 0.8 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of approximately $95 million.  In addition, yesterday, Darden's Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program under which the Company may repurchase up to $500 million of its outstanding common stock.  This repurchase program does not have an expiration and replaces the previously existing share repurchase authorization.

Fiscal 2020 Financial Outlook
The Company reaffirmed all aspects of its financial outlook for fiscal 2020:

  • Total sales growth of 5.3% to 6.3%, including approximately 2% growth related to the 53rd week
  • Same-restaurant sales growth of 1% to 2%
  • Approximately 50 gross and 44 net new restaurant openings
  • Total capital spending of $450 to $500 million
  • Total inflation of approximately 2.5%
  • Effective tax rate of 10% to 11%
  • Diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations of $6.30 to $6.45 including:
    • Approximately $0.15 related to the addition of the 53rd week
    • Approximately -$0.05 related to the implementation of ASC-842 Lease Accounting
  • Approximately 124 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding

Investor Conference Call
The Company will host a conference call and slide presentation on Thursday, September 19 at 8:30 am ET to review its recent financial performance. To listen to the call live, please go to  at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software. Prior to the call, a slide presentation will be posted on the Investor Relations section of our website at: . For those who cannot access the Internet, please dial 1-888-396-9924 and enter passcode 3047110. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

About Darden
Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's.  Our people equal our success, and we are proud to employ 185,000 team members in more than 1,700 restaurants.  Together, we create memorable experiences for nearly 390 million guests each year in communities across North America.  For more information, please visit .

Information About Forward-Looking Statements
Forward-looking statements in this communication regarding our expected earnings performance and all other statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation statements concerning our future economic performance, are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are first made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date. We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Darden's Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K reports. These risks and uncertainties include technology failures including failure to maintain a secure cyber network, food safety and food-borne illness concerns, the inability to hire, train, reward and retain restaurant team members, a failure to develop and recruit effective leaders, risks relating to public policy changes and federal, state and local regulation of our business, litigation, unfavorable publicity, an inability or failure to manage the accelerated impact of social media, the inability to cancel long-term, non-cancelable leases, labor and insurance costs, failure to execute a business continuity plan following a disaster, health concerns including food-related pandemics or virus outbreaks, intense competition, changing consumer preferences, failure to drive profitable sales growth, a lack of availability of suitable locations for new restaurants, higher-than-anticipated costs to open, close, relocate or remodel restaurants, a failure to execute innovative marketing tactics, a failure to address cost pressures, shortages or interruptions in the delivery of food and other products and services, adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, volatility in the market value of derivatives, economic factors specific to the restaurant industry and general macroeconomic factors including unemployment, energy prices and interest rates, disruptions in the financial and credit markets, risks of doing business with franchisees and licensees, risks of doing business with business partners and vendors in foreign markets, failure to protect our intellectual property, impairment in the carrying value of our goodwill or other intangible assets, changes in tax laws or treaties, failure of our internal controls over financial reporting and other factors and uncertainties discussed from time to time in reports filed by Darden with the Securities and Exchange Commission.









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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

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