Darden Shares Surge 6% on Earnings Beat, Raised Forecast, and $500MM Share Buyback

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October 4, 2016 7:41am NYSE:DRI

Darden logoRestaurant chain operator Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) this morning posted impressive fiscal Q1 earnings results, lifted its full-year outlook, and announced a new buyback plan.

The Orlando-based company reported fiscal Q1 adjusted EPS of $0.88 per share, easily beating Wall Street’s view of $0.82. Revenue rose 1.6% from last year to $1.71 billion, in-line with analyst estimates.

Same-store sales, also known as comparable sales or simply “comps”, gained 1.3% in the latest period. The breakdown of comps in Q1 across DRI’s various properties was:

  • +2.0% for Olive Garden,
  • -1.2% for The Capital Grille
  • +0.0% for Yard House,
  • +0.6% for LongHorn Steakhouse,
  • -1.7% for Eddie V’s,
  • +0.7% for Seasons 52, and
  • +3.9% for Bahama Breeze.

Looking ahead, DRI forecast full-year 2017 EPS to range from $3.87 to $3.97, up from a prior outlook of $3.80 to $3.90. Analysts are looking for $3.87 per share for the year. The company also reaffirmed its forecast for same-restaurant sales growth of approximately 1.0% to 2.0%.

Darden noted that it repurchased approximately 3.2 million shares of its common stock in Q1, and announced a massive new buyback plan as well. Its Board of Directors authorized a new $500 million share repurchase program to replace its old program.

From the press release:

“I’m pleased with our performance during the quarter and the progress we made against our strategic initiatives,” said CEO Gene Lee. “We continued to gain market share and our same-restaurant sales growth outperformed the industry by a considerable margin. We also returned significant capital to shareholders in the form of our regular dividend and $196 million in share repurchases.”


Darden shares rose in premarket trading Tuesday. Prior to today’s report, DRI had fallen 3.58%, versus a 5.83% gain in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

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