Exhibit 99

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Red Lobster® Olive Garden® LongHorn Steakhouse®

The Capital Grille® Bahama Breeze® Seasons 52®

www.darden.com

 

        

  NEWS/INFORMATION

Corporate Relations

P.O. Box 593330

Orlando, FL 32859

 

   Contacts:      
   (Analysts)    Matthew Stroud    (407) 245-6458
FOR RELEASE    (Media)    Rich Jeffers    (407) 245-4189
June 23, 2010
        
4:30 PM ET         

DARDEN RESTAURANTS REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND

ANNUAL DILUTED NET EARNINGS PER SHARE;

INCREASES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND BY 28 PERCENT

ORLANDO, FL, June 23 – Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today reported sales and diluted net earnings per share for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended May 30, 2010. In the fourth quarter, diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations decreased 7% to 81 cents, versus 87 cents in the prior year, which included an additional fiscal week. The additional fiscal week contributed approximately six cents of diluted net earnings per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, the Company recognized a $12.7 million pre-tax reduction in sales associated with a correction to its third quarter estimate of gift card redemptions. This non-cash correction reduced diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations by approximately five cents in the fourth quarter. Excluding the $12.7 million pre-tax charge, diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations were 86 cents.

Fourth quarter sales from continuing operations were $1.86 billion, compared to $1.98 billion in the prior year, a 5.7% decrease (13 weeks vs. 14 weeks). The additional fiscal week contributed approximately $124 million of sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. On a reported fiscal quarter basis, combined same-restaurant sales for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse were down 2.3% this quarter (13 weeks vs. 13 weeks). On a calendar week comparison, which is consistent with how the Knapp-Track™ benchmark is calculated, Darden’s blended same-restaurant sales for the fourth quarter were down 0.9%. This compares to an estimated decline of 1.4% for the Knapp-Track™ benchmark of U.S. same-restaurant sales, excluding Darden.

For the fiscal year, diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations increased 8% to $2.86 from $2.65 in the prior year, which included an additional fiscal week. The additional fiscal week contributed approximately six cents of diluted net earnings per share in fiscal 2009.

-MORE-


The following information was filed by Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI) on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

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