Fewer funerals conducted by Dignity

Funerals and crematoria group Dignity conducted fewer funerals in the first six months of its latest financial year.

LAST PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC  SHROPSHIRE STAR 23/07/2019 PIC ONLY GV Emstrey Crematorium and Cemetery, Shrewsbury..
LAST PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC SHROPSHIRE STAR 23/07/2019 PIC ONLY GV Emstrey Crematorium and Cemetery, Shrewsbury..

The 41,400 in the 26 weeks to June 25 compared to 46,000 a year before and 36,200 before the pandemic in 2019.

The chief executive of the Sutton Coldfield-based group, Gary Channon, said Covid-19 has had a distorting impact on the business both in terms of operations and its financial results.

The death rate in the first quarter was 22 per cent above the five-year average which reduced to four per cent below the five year average in quarter two.

As restrictions eased on funeral attendance Dignity's average revenue per funeral increased from £2,461 in the first half of 2020 to £2,628 for the first half of 2021.

The group has 795 funeral director locations including in the Black Country, Shropshire and Staffordshire and operates 46 crematoria including at Lichfield, Stourport, Telford and Shrewsbury.

For the half year revenue was down from £197.1 million a year before to £189m with pre-tax profit of £50.5m comparing to a £12.1m loss in 2020.

A new strategy in now in place to enable the group to realise its significant unlocked value.

Dignity has reviewed and adapted the group's pricing strategy, launching competitively priced funeral services in the UK to lower the cost of dying for families

Mr Channon said: "There are a number of significant projects underway at Dignity that we are committed to delivering. Importantly we must take all of our stakeholders along on this journey, including our colleagues, clients and shareholders.

"Our focus is to build a successful and growing business by empowering our colleagues and giving them the tools to succeed which include competitive prices, the authority to act with local autonomy, great products and investment in people and premises. Our most ambitious goal though is to cultivate a culture that will be our true differentiator. Successful execution of our strategy will unlock the significant value in our business."

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