LOS ANGELES - Darden Restaurants Inc posted a quarterly profit above Wall Street expectations but warned that full-year profit could be at the low end of its forecast, and its shares fell 6 percent.
Darden repeated its forecast for fiscal 2010 earnings of $2.59 to $2.85 per share.
Given industry sales trends, however, at this time the lower half of the diluted net earnings per share range we've provided is more likely than the upper half of the range, the company said in a statement.
Darden, which also owns Capital Grille and LongHorn Steakhouse, said earnings from continued operations were $95 million, or 67 cents per share, for the fiscal first-quarter ended Aug. 30, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $82.4 million, or 58 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, were looking for 66 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Total sales from continuing operations fell 2.3 percent to $1.73 billion during the quarter, as sales at U.S. established restaurants fell 2.9 percent at Olive Garden, 7.9 percent at Red Lobster and 6.2 percent at LongHorn Steakhouse.
Shares of Darden fell to $33.99 from their New York Stock Exchange close of $36.15. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Gary Hill)