Economy catches up with Darden in latest quarter; but acquisitions propel co. to profit gain

ORLANDO Fla. The difficult economic environment caught up with Red Lobster and Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. during its February-ended third quarter, as costs rose and sales slowed, a familiar trend for most in the industry.

But helped by the strength of sales at Olive Garden and the newly acquired LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille chains, Darden was propelled to an 18-percent jump in net profit from a year ago and a 25-percent surge in total

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