February 22, 2013 / 2:26 PM / in 5 years

Darden Restaurants warns on third-quarter profit

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc warned that its third-quarter profit would be below Wall Street estimates, as a severe winter kept customers away.

The company expects blended U.S. same-restaurant sales at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse to be down about 4.5 percent in the third-quarter ending Feb. 24.

Darden said earnings were likely to be between $1.00 and $1.02 per share. Analysts on an average are expecting a profit of $1.13 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Orlando, Florida-based company’s shares were up marginally before the bell on Friday. They closed at $44.74 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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