During the quarter, the restaurant operator achieved sales of$1.41 billion, an increase of 10.2%, and diluted net earnings pershare of 53 cents, a 20% increase from prior year. Net earningswere $85.5million, compared to $71 million, or 44 cents per dilutedshare, for the same period last year.

Otis attributes the growth to an increase in same-store salesand the opening of 57 new stores during the quarter. "We really hada competitively strong quarter," he says. "We had industryleadingsame-store sales growth and industry leasing earningsgrowth."

In fact, Olive Garden achieved its 44th consecutive quarter ofUS same- restaurant sales growth with a 7.4% increase, and RedLobster had US same-restaurant sales growth of 5.7% for thequarter.

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