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Sales gains, new units drive Darden 2Q profit

Darden Restaurants Inc. reported Monday a 23.5-percent year-to-year increase in its second-quarter net income on a quarterly sales gain of 5.2 percent.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden, which operates 1,852 restaurants under six brands including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, said its performance was driven by new restaurant openings — 63 new locations from the year-ago second quarter — and positive same-store sales.

The company earned $74.5 million, or 53 cents per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 28, compared with earnings of $60.3 million, or 43 cents per share, for the second quarter a year ago.

Latest-quarter restaurant sales totaled $1.73 billion. Same-store sales increased 2 percent at Olive Garden and 6.8 percent at LongHorn Steakhouse, but fell 1.6 percent at Red Lobster. Darden’s specialty restaurant group reported same-store sales increases of 5.6 percent at The Capital Grille, 3.2 percent at Bahama Breeze and 3.8 percent at Seasons 52.

The company plans to hold a quarterly conference call with investors on Tuesday. Check for the latest news.

Contact Sarah E. Lockyer at [email protected].

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