Increasing Same Store Sales At Olive Garden Signals Bullish Outlook For Darden Restaurants: Analyst

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Wedbush analyst Nick Setyan reiterated an Outperform rating on the shares of Darden Restaurants Inc (NYSE: DRI) and raised the price target from $165 to $175. The analyst’s FQ4 Olive Garden checks point to same-store-sales growth at least in line with the consensus of 4.7%. The analyst said that positive aspects included improved guest counts, sustained levels of off-premise sales, and improved staffing levels. Based on the checks, the analyst increased FQ4 Olive Garden same-store sales growth estimate to 5.0% from 4.5%. The analyst also raised LongHorn same-store sales growth estimate to 5% from 4%. The analyst noted that if no further price increases are implemented, rollover FY24 menu pricing will fall in the 3% range. The analyst expects incremental price increases to occur and would be surprised if FY24 menu pricing is not at or above 4%. The analyst also believes incremental marketing spend remains an opportunity management can take advantage of should the need arise. The analyst raised the FY24 EPS estimate to $8.81 from $8.79 and the FY25 EPS estimate to $9.60 from $9.58. The analyst expects DRI’s category share gains to accelerate in an increasingly uncertain consumer environment, rendering visibility into DRI’s ability to achieve or exceed current consensus. Price Action: DRI shares are trading higher by 1.65% at $161.07 on the last check Thursday.

Latest Ratings for DRI

Date Firm Action From To
Dec 2021 Stifel Upgrades Hold Buy
Dec 2021 Stephens & Co. Maintains Overweight
Dec 2021 MKM Partners Maintains Buy

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