By the end of trading, 6.3 million shares of Darden changed hands compared to its average daily volume of 1.26 million. Overall, Darden lagged the S&P 500 which was down 0.72%.
For the quarter ended Aug. 25, Darden reported earnings of 53 cents a share, a 37.6% decrease compared to the year-ago quarter. Earnings rang in at $70.3 million, significantly lower than $111 million for the first quarter a year earlier. Same-restaurant sales increased 3.2% at LongHorn Steakhouse, but sales at Olive Garden and Red Lobster fell 4% and 5.2%, respectively.
"Sales volatility is amplified because of the changes we're making at our two largest brands [Olive Garden and Red Lobster]," Darden CEO Clarence Otis said in a company press release. "August was a challenging month on an absolute basis and we have to be prepared for consumers to continue to be cautious in their spending."
The company said it is prepared to take steps to reduce costs by $50 million a year namely through labor and program spending cuts.
Otis commented, "With the additional flexibility we have as a result of these actions... we are confident we can deliver stronger operating and financial results and remain the industry leader for years to come."
Darden also announced President and COO Drew Madsen's retirement effective at the end of the company's second quarter. Gene Lee, president of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group, will assume the role. During Madsen's six-year tenure, the company saw a 79% increase in annual revenues and delivered a 110% increase in total shareholder return.