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 695011
                  Orlando, FL 32869-5011

 

   Contacts:      
   (Analysts)   Matthew Stroud    (407) 245-6458

FOR RELEASE

   (Media)        Rich Jeffers    (407) 245-4189

June 30, 2011

        

4:30 PM ET

        

DARDEN RESTAURANTS REPORTS A 23 PERCENT INCREASE IN FOURTH QUARTER

DILUTED NET EARNINGS PER SHARE AND A 19 PERCENT INCREASE IN

FISCAL YEAR DILUTED NET EARNINGS PER SHARE;

INCREASES ITS QUARTERLY DIVIDEND 34 PERCENT

ORLANDO, FL, June 30 – Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today reported diluted net earnings per share and sales for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended May 29, 2011.

Highlights for the quarter and fiscal year include the following:

 

   

Fourth quarter diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.00, a 23% increase from the 81 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of last year. Net earnings from continuing operations in this year’s fourth quarter were $138.0 million and sales were $1.99 billion, which compare to net earnings from continuing operations of $116.0 million and sales of $1.86 billion in the fourth quarter last year.

 

   

Fourth quarter total sales from continuing operations of $1.99 billion were a 6.8% increase from the prior year. The increase reflects (1) combined same-restaurant sales growth of 2.2% for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, exceeding an estimated 1.9% increase for the Knapp-Track™ benchmark of U.S. same-restaurant sales excluding Darden; (2) same-restaurant sales growth of 5.3% for the Company’s Specialty Restaurant Group; and (3) the operation of 70 net new restaurants compared to the fourth quarter last year. In the fourth quarter, U.S. same-restaurant sales increased 6.0% at LongHorn Steakhouse, 3.8% at Red Lobster and were flat at Olive Garden.

 

   

Fiscal year 2011 diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations were $3.41, a 19% increase from last year’s $2.86. Net earnings from continuing operations in fiscal 2011 were $478.7 million and sales were $7.50 billion, which compare to net earnings from continuing operations of $407.0 million and sales of $7.11 billion last year.

 

   

Fiscal year 2011 total sales from continuing operations of $7.50 billion were a 5.4% increase from the prior year. The increase reflects (1) combined same-restaurant sales growth of 1.4% for Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, exceeding an estimated increase of 0.8% for the Knapp-Track™ benchmark of U.S. same-restaurant sales excluding Darden; (2) same-restaurant sales growth of 4.8% for the Company’s Specialty Restaurant Group; and (3) 4.1% of growth in sales for the year due to new restaurants.

 

-MORE-


The following information was filed by Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI) on Thursday, June 30, 2011 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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