NEW YORK – Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI), owner of the Olive Garden (search) and Red Lobster (search) casual dining chains, Tuesday reported lower quarterly net income after taking charges for closing and writing down the value of several restaurants.
Orlando, Fla.-based Darden posted a net profit for its fiscal fourth quarter ended May 30 of $53.7 million, or 32 cents per share, compared with $61.1 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time charges, Darden earned 46 cents per share.
On that basis, Wall Street analysts had expected the company to report earnings of between 42 cents and 47 cents per share with an average view of 44 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Darden said last month it would close six struggling Bahama Breeze (search) restaurants and would write down the value of four others plus one Red Lobster and one Olive Garden location.
At Darden's popular Italian-themed Olive Garden chain, sales at restaurants open at least 16 months, or same-store sales, rose 5 percent during the quarter.
At the Red Lobster chain, which the company is trying to turn around, same-store sales were down 6.4 percent for the quarter.
For the fiscal year 2005, however, Darden forecast same-store sales growth of between 1 and 3 percent for both Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The company expects to open at least 50 to 60 restaurants in that year.