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Olive Garden parent reports earnings beat, raises its dividend and announces a $1 billion share buyback program

Darden Restaurants Inc.
DRI,
+1.25%

shares rose 1.6% in Thursday premarket trading after it reported a fiscal fourth-quarter earnings beat, raised its dividend and announced a new $1 billion share repurchase program. Net income totaled $281.7 million, or $2.24 per share, down from $368.5 million, or $2.78 per share, last year. Sales of $2.603 billion were up from $2.279 billion last year. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $2.21 and sales of $2.504 billion. Same-restaurant sales jumped 11.7%, far exceeding the FactSet consensus was for a 9.2% rise. Olive Garden was up 6.5%, Longhorn Steakhouse rose 10.6%, and the fine dining segment, which includes names like The Capitale Grille, soared 34.5%. Darden declared a dividend of $1.21 per share, up 10% from the third quarter, payable on August 1, 2022 to shareholders of record as of July 8, 2022. For fiscal 2023, Darden is guiding for sales of $10.2 billion to $10.4 billion, same-restaurant sales growth of 4% to 6% and EPS from continuing operations of $7.40 to $8.00. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $10.229 billion, same-restaurant sales growth of 4.4% and EPS of $8.10. Darden stock is down 23.6% for the year to date while the broader S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.13%

is down 21.1% for the period.

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