Darden Restaurants has reported net earnings of $308.1m for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the fiscal year 2024 (FY24), an almost 2% decline from $315.1m in the same quarter of FY2023. 

For the quarter that ended on 26 May 2024, the company’s basic and diluted net earnings per share came in at $2.58 and $2.57, respectively.  

The company witnessed a 6.8% increase in total sales, reaching $2.9bn in Q4 FY24, up from $2.7bn in Q4 FY23.  

The addition of 80 Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations, along with 37 other net new restaurants, contributed to the growth. 

The Olive Garden segment led the company’s sales in Q4 FY24, generating $1.2bn, followed by the LongHorn Steakhouse segment with $762.7m in sales.  

The Fine Dining segment’s sales increased to $327.1m in Q4 FY24, up from $209.8m in the previous year’s quarter.  

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The Fine Dining segment also includes sales and profits from restaurants owned by Ruth’s Chris, which was acquired in June 2023. 

Operating income for Q4 FY24 was reported at $395.4m, up from $374.5m in the same quarter of FY23.  

For the entire fiscal year 2024, Darden Restaurants’ net earnings rose to $1.0bn, an increase from $981.9m in the previous year.  

The company’s net earnings per share were $8.57 and $8.51 on a basic and diluted basis respectively.  

Total sales for FY24 also saw an 8.6% increase to $11.3bn, compared with $10.4bn in FY23. 

Operating income for FY24 increased to $1.3bn from $1.2m reported in FY23. 

Looking ahead to fiscal 2025, Darden Restaurants anticipates total sales to be in the range of $11.8bn to $11.9bn, with between 45 and 50 new restaurant openings.

The company projects a same-restaurant sales growth of 1% to 2%, excluding Ruth’s Chris Steak House, as they will not have been owned or operated by Darden for 16 months at the beginning of the fiscal year. 

Darden president and CEO Rick Cardenas said: “We had a strong year by staying disciplined, being brilliant with the basics and controlling what we could control. 

“This enabled us to exceed the high end of the EPS [earnings per share] range we provided at the beginning of the fiscal year despite weakening conditions that emerged in the back half of the year.”