Olive Garden, LongHorn offset Darden’s fine dining softness

Darden Restaurants beat quarterly sales and profit expectations thanks to a big assist from its Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands. Consolidated same-store sales grew by 5%, despite a 2.8% decline in the company’s fine dining segment.

LongHorn Steakhouse same-store sales were up 8.1%. Olive Garden, which represents about 45% of the company’s revenue, increased its same-store sales by 6.1%. The chain is bringing back its Never-Ending Pasta Bowl next week to maintain that momentum during a typically slower period, as families head back to school. Olive Garden brought the promotion back around the same time last year after a two-year hiatus, which exceeded expectations and kept traffic higher than segment averages in the quarter. It will remain the same price as last year’s promotion, starting at $13.99 and an additional $4.99 for certain protein toppings, such as meatballs, Italian sausage, and crispy chicken.

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Shoppers pull back on ‘big ticket’ items as furniture, appliance sales lag [Video]

This earnings season shows a major challenge facing retailers: shoppers reluctant to make big purchases.

To some extent, this pullback is to be expected as interest rates stay high, the housing market has stalled, and consumers are gravitating towards services rather than goods.

But retailers reporting results over the past several weeks have shown how even with an anticipated shift in consumer habits the impacts on results today are hard to ignore.

“After three years of unprecedented demand in the home improvement market, we continue to see softer engagement in big ticket discretionary categories like patio and appliances that likely reflects both pull forward of these single item purchases and deferral,” Billy Bastek, Home Depot’s (HD) EVP of merchandising, said during the company’s second quarter earnings call.

The home improvement retailer said big ticket transactions above $1000 were down 5.5% year over year.

For lower-income shoppers, inflation has

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Home Depot sales dip, but company says long-term outlook good

ATLANTA — Home Depot on Tuesday announced another quarter of declining sales, but it was a dip that was expected as the company works through what officials called a post-pandemic “settling.”

The retail behemoth reported sales of $42.9 billion for the past three months, down 2.0% from the same quarter during the previous year. Net earnings during the quarter were $4.7 billion, or $4.65 per share, down from $5.2 billion, or $5.05 per share, a year earlier.

“We look at 2023 as a year of moderation after the explosive growth we had in the last few years,” said Ted Decker, chief executive, during a teleconference with analysts and reporters.

Earlier this year, the company projected that its sales this year will be between 2% and 5% of the previous year’s revenue, while earnings per share drop between 7% and 13%. Officials Tuesday reaffirmed that prediction.

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With home improvement projects down, it’s Ikea’s moment

Aspiring home owners are finding the housing market to be pretty grim lately. With record-high mortgage rates, expensive insurance, and a limited selection of pricey homes, many are staying put — whether they want to or not.

But the bleak outlook could be a boon for Ikea, a budget furniture seller that appeals to people who need to furnish small spaces, can’t spend much and don’t expect products to last very long.

With “people maybe not being able to get into that dream house right now, whether for affordability or availability … they’re looking for solutions that might not be as permanent,” said Michael Brown, partner in the consulting firm Kearney’s consumer products and retail practice. He added that unlike its competitors, Ikea’s offerings work well in smaller spaces. “I actually think the environment is ripe for them to go and expand at this point in time,”

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Mental health gardening charity to supply Tebay Services

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Food grown as part of the project will be supplied to Tebay Services’ farm shop and kitchen

A gardening charity which helps people struggling with mental health will supply salads to an M6 service station.

Growing Well, which helps people deal with grief, depression and anxiety, has expanded its services to include a kitchen garden at Tebay Services.

Sharon Rodhouse, whose husband took his own life, said it had helped her though the “dark periods”.

She is one of about 100 people from Eden and north Cumbria to be helped by the charity this year.

Volunteers are referred to the project by GPs and mental health services and work under the supervision of growers and mental health support staff.

The charity said talking about difficulties while tending to the plants gave people an opportunity to reflect, learn new skills and meet new people.

Image caption,
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Monroe County garden center gearing up for planting season

Depending on what you’re looking for, prices could be a couple of bucks more than what you paid last year because of supply issues.

BRODHEADSVILLE, Pa. — Fruit trees and shrubs are scattered across the property at Chestnut Hill Nursery in Chestnuthill Township near Broheadsville, displaying some of the plants you can expect this year.

The garden center along Route 209 is getting ready for what the owners expect to be another busy season.

“We’re really starting to bring all the material in. We’ve already contracted with our growers for the material we think we need for the season, and the trucks are rolling in, basically, every day at this point,””said owner Jim Scocozza.

Scocozza says the garden industry boomed during the coronavirus pandemic, and now with high food prices, he believes more people will be interested in growing some of their own.

“Gardens are going to be really

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What’s your Northeast Ohio New Year’s garden resolution for 2023?

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The new calendar year is here, which means it is a good time to think about resolutions for the upcoming gardening season. Thanks to the ideas that readers have shared, I have several concepts to explore in 2023.

Read all of Susan Brownstein’s gardening columns here.

Eliminate single-use plastic and minimize waste and petroleum products in my gardening practice. There a many good reasons for gardeners to, in the words of reader Ray in Westlake, “reduce their garbage footprint,” but it takes a conscious effort to do so. Plastic pots, tags, bags, and bottles are abundant in garden supplies, and while I have long reused as much as possible, I am ready to take the next step and find alternatives to these products, especially those that are single use. In our pursuit of picture-perfect produce, we may be causing irreparable harm to our environment, and I don’t

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Third Quarter Earnings Season Wraps Up With A Look At Retail

Colorful paper bags on pink background. Online shopping or sale event concept. 3d render

TShum/iStock via Getty Images

Last week gave investors an important peek into the state of the US consumer. Despite historically high inflation and rising interest rates, consumers still appear to be relatively strong, although they continue to be choosy with how they allocate their discretionary income.

PPI and Retail Sales Look Bright, But Consumer Debt is Mounting

Last week there were two economic indicators released featuring October statistics that were a positive sign for consumers. Producer Price Index came in at 8%, below the 8.3% expectation, and showing the fourth consecutive month of declines.

Retail sales also reported better than expected at 1.3%, vs. the 1.0% estimate. Strength was led by large ticket items such as motor vehicles which increased 1.3% and furniture which increased 1.1%.

Retail Earnings Parade Begins and It’s Mostly Good News

We also got earnings reports from major retailers including Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), TJX Companies

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Save the Date: Maymont’s Garden Glow

RICHMOND, Va. — Save the date for October 13 through November 6. That’s when Maymont’s 2022 Garden Glow, presented by Kroger, will take place.

This enchanting experience is a whole new way to enjoy and explore Maymont. This is the fifth year of Garden Glow – and the biggest yet!

Starting at sunset, dramatic lighting transforms the historic architecture and gardens into a magical destination.

New this year, there are three original art installations plus the Italian Garden will be illuminated in addition to the Japanese Garden.

And, as always, there will be lots of family fun!

“We have a giant Shadow Wall that will have different colors on it and kids can dance and make different shapes. We also have a new installation this year that we’re calling the Big Bright Mega Light,” said Ellen Byrd, Maymont’s Senior Manager of Special Events. “When people are here, we hope they

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Home Depot posts record profit, revenue; sticks to outlook

FILE - A Home Depot logo sign hands on its facade, Friday, May 14, 2021, in North Miami, Fla.  Home Depot's sales rose in its fiscal second quarter, buoyed by continued demand for items related to home improvement projects.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)home improvement projects. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)” loading=”lazy”/

FILE – A Home Depot logo sign hands on its facade, Friday, May 14, 2021, in North Miami, Fla. Home Depot’s sales rose in its fiscal second quarter, buoyed by continued demand for items related to home improvement projects. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)


Home Depot is seeing sustained demand for goods related to home improvement projects despite soaring prices and mortgage rates for homes.

Despite record profit and revenue, the Atlanta home improvement chain maintained its guidance for the year.

Revenue for the three months ended July 31 rose 6.5% to $43.79 billion, which topped projections of $43.35 billion on Wall Street, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 5.8%, and 5.4% in the US

While the number of customer

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