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Darden Reaffirms FY20 Outlook; Announces $500 Mln Share Buyback, Qtly Dividend

While reporting financial results for the first quarter on Thursday, Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) reaffirmed its financial outlook for the full-year 2020, which is a 53-week fiscal year. The outlook includes the impact of the additional week.

For fiscal 2020, the company continues to project net earnings from continuing operations in a range of $6.30 to $6.45 per share. This includes about $0.15 related to the additional 53rd week.

Total sales growth for the year is still forecast in the range of 5.3 to 6.3 percent, including about 2 percent growth related to the 53rd week. Same-restaurant sales growth for the year is also expected in a range of 1.0 to 2.0 percent.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $6.40 per share on sales growth of 6.4 percent to $9.05 billion for the year. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Darden's Board of Directors also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.88 on the Company's outstanding common stock, payable on November 1, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 10, 2019.

On Wednesday, Darden's Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program under which the Company may repurchase up to $500 million of its outstanding common stock. This repurchase program does not have expiration and replaces the previously existing share repurchase authorization.

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