Dignity trading slows down due to fewer COVID-19 deaths

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Dignity (LSE:DTY) Plc posted slower growth in the current half year as fewer people died because of COVID-19.


The funeral services provider said that the pandemic has had a distorting impact on the business both in terms of operations and financial results.


The death rate in the first quarter was 22% above the five-year average, then it reduced to 4% below the five-year average in the following three months.


As restrictions eased on funeral attendance, the average revenue per funeral increased from GBP2,461 in the first half of 2020 to GBP2,628 for the first half of 2021.


However, the number of funerals dropped to 41,400 in the first half of 2021, compared to 46,000 a year ago, though they were well above the 36,200 funerals conducted in 2019.


“Amongst all this turbulence market share is much harder to judge because the differences between time of death and time of funeral change. However, we believe our underlying share has declined outside of our trial areas. We observed the same effect in our crematoria,” the firm said.


In the half-year to 25 June, revenue shed 4% to GBP189mln and Dignity swung to a GBP50mln profit before tax from a GBP12mln loss the year before. Deaths were 8% lower at 340,000.


Shares lost 3% to 722p on Tuesday morning.

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