ORLANDO, Fla.Jan. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) today increased its outlook for adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations* for fiscal 2018 to $4.70– $4.78, including plans to make an investment of approximately $20 million in its workforce during fiscal 2018.

The Company also announced the fiscal 2018 anticipated financial impacts of H.R. 1, originally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) enacted on December 22, 2017. During the Company’s fiscal third quarter ending February 25, 2018, the Company will be required to revalue its deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities to account for the future impact of lower corporate tax rates on these deferred amounts. Based upon preliminary analysis, the Company estimates that it will record non-cash net tax benefits of approximately $70 million, or approximately $0.56 per diluted share, related to the revaluation of these deferred tax items.

Additionally, and excluding the deferred tax revaluation benefit mentioned above, the Company estimates that the impact of the lower corporate tax rates under the Tax Act will reduce its fiscal 2018 effective tax rate by 600 basis points. Separately, the Company announced that the anticipated resolution of other tax matters, unrelated to the Tax Act, will reduce its effective tax rate by an additional 100 basis points, resulting in an effective tax rate of approximately 18% for fiscal 2018. The actual impacts of the Tax Act on fiscal 2018 financial results may differ from these estimates due to many factors, including changes in interpretations of the Tax Act, the accuracy of the Company’s assumptions and additional actions it may take as a result of the Tax Act.

“One of the best investments we can make is in our people,” said CEO Gene Lee. “During the remainder of fiscal 2018, we will invest approximately $20 million in initiatives directly benefitting our workforce. This investment will strengthen one of our most important competitive advantages – a results-oriented culture – as we continue to improve on the guest experience, and position Darden and our brands for long-term success.”

Updated Fiscal 2018 Financial Outlook
Based on the tax items previously mentioned, and net of investments, Darden provided an updated effective tax rate estimate and increased its outlook for adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations* for fiscal 2018.

Current (01/08/18)

Prior (12/19/17)

Same-restaurant sales growth

Approx. 2%

Approx. 2%

New restaurant openings

Approx. 40

Approx. 40

Total sales growth

Approx. 13%

Approx. 13%

Effective tax rate

 Approx. 18%

 Approx. 25%

Adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations*

$4.70 to $4.78

$4.45 to $4.53

Diluted average common shares outstanding for the year

Approx. 126M

Approx. 126M

* See “Non-GAAP Information” below for more details

About Darden
Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s. Our people equal our success, and we are proud to employ more than 175,000 team members in over 1,700 restaurants. Together, we create memorable experiences for 380 million guests each year in communities across North America. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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