Although the chain's two top divisions, Red Lobster and OliveGarden, posted monthly gains in sales, guest counts and pricing,the percentages are lower than last year at this time. September isthe first month of Darden's fiscal 2002 second quarter.

The 660-unit Red Lobster division posted same-restaurant salesgains of 4% to 5%; a guest count increase of 2% to 3%; and a 2%increase in pricing.

But in September 2000, the 1,173-unit seafood chain had a 6% to7% same-restaurant sales increase; a 3% to 4% increase in guestcounts; and a 2% jump in pricing from the previous month.

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