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Darden profit meets analysts' lowered expectations

March 21 (Reuters) - Darden Restaurants Inc reiterated its plans to divest its struggling Red Lobster chain and reported third-quarter results in line with analysts' lowered expectations.

The Orlando-based company, which also owns the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, said on March 3 that severe winter weather hurt sales and profit.

The company's net income fell to $109.7 million, or 82 cents per share in the quarter ended Feb. 23, from $134.4 million, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier.

Same-restaurant sales fell 8.8 percent at Red Lobster and 5.4 percent at Olive Garden. They rose 0.3 percent at LongHorn Steakhouse.

(Reporting by Aditi Shrivastava and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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