Red Lobster parent Darden profit drops, partly due to hurricane Irene

ORLANDO, Fla. ― Darden Restaurants Inc. posted a 6 percent drop in quarterly earnings, partly hurt by the hurricane Irene, but reaffirmed its full-year earnings outlook.

The company said Irene hurt sales at established Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants and estimated the storm reduced quarterly earnings by about 2 cents per share.

Orlando, Florida-based Darden earned $106.8 million for the first quarter, or 78 cents from continuing operations.

Sales were $1.94 billion, up about 7.5 percent.

Darden also said it sees full-year earnings per share growth from continuing operations toward the lower end of its previously announced range of 12 to 15 percent.

Shares of the company closed at $46.98 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.