Darden's Sales Spike

Olive Garden's same-store sales rise in the September period.
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Darden Restaurants (DRI) - Get Report, owner of the Olive Garden chain, on Thursday said that the restaurant's same-store sales rose 5% to 6%, a reflection of price increases and more customer traffic.

Same-store sales results at Red Lobster for the five-week September fiscal month ended Oct.1, 2006 -- or the first month of Darden's second quarter -- showed a gain of 2% to 3%.

In the year-ago period, Olive Garden saw a rise of 4% to 5%; Red Lobster's growth was 2% to 3%.

The Orlando, Fla., company owns and operates more than 1,430 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. Combined annual sales are roughly $5.7 billion.

Shares of Darden rose 13 cents to close the regular session at $44.09.