US-based multi-brand restaurant operator Darden Restaurants has reported a 6.1% increase in total sales, to $2.4bn, for the first quarter (Q1) of fiscal 2023.

This growth is due to sales from 34 net new restaurants along with a blended same-restaurant sales increase of 4.2%.

The company’s net income for the period was $193m, down from $230.9m reported in the same quarter last year.

For Q1 2023, the company reported $1.56 diluted net earnings per share, compared to $1.76 in the corresponding quarter of last year.

Darden Restaurants’ portfolio includes Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Fine Dining and other businesses.

Growth in same-restaurant sales for the quarter stood at 2.3% for Olive Garden, 4.2% for LongHorn Steakhouse, and 7.6% for both Fine Dining and the company’s other businesses.

The firm also repurchased nearly 1.7 million shares of its common stock for approximately $199m during the quarter.

At the end of the fiscal year 2023 Q1, Darden Restaurants had around $912m left under the existing $1bn repurchase authorisation.

Darden Restaurants president and CEO Rick Cardenas said: “I am pleased with the performance of all our brands in what remains a challenging inflationary and uncertain macroeconomic environment.

“We had a solid quarter and we saw more normal seasonality return to our business, which we did not experience last year.

“Darden’s strategy, together with the breadth of our brand portfolio, our team members’ passion to serve, and the strength of our balance sheet, gives me confidence in our ability to continue to win.”

For the fiscal year 2023, the company expects total sales of $10.2bn to $10.4bn, same-restaurant sales growth of 4% to 6%, and 55 to 60 new restaurant openings.

It also expects diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $7.40 to $8.