The company contends it is the world's largest casual seafoodrestaurant company and has the numbers to back up that claim.

In an Aug. 16, 10-K filing with the Securities and ExchangeCommission, Darden reports fiscal 2001 net earnings of $197 millionor $1.59 per diluted share ($1.64 basic share) on sales of $4.02billion versus $173,1 million or $1.31 per diluted share ($1.35basic share) on revenue of $3.7 billion in fiscal 2000.

Net earnings were up 13.8%.The company's fiscal year ended May27. Darden's restaurant operating profit alone was $886.43 millionin 2001; $800.55 million in 2000; and $713.19 million in 1999.

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