The funeral provider says its profits for 2019 are likely to be lower because fewer people have died.Read more
BBC Business News
An in-depth investigation into the funerals sector has been welcomed by funeral firm Dignity.
The Sutton Coldfield based company is the only stock market listed funeral business and says it has been in discussions with The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about the sector.
Today, the CMA's announced it will conduct a full inquiry, saying that the essential costs of a funeral have increased by 6% each year for the past 14 years.
In November, the authority said it had "serious concerns" about above-inflation price rises.
Responding to the news, Dignity's chief executive, Mike McCollum, said: "Dignity has made clear that we welcome the CMA's investigation into the funeral market and look forward to continuing our work with the CMA and other industry bodies to protect consumers."
Back to the CMA funeral investigation.
Dignity, the UK's only listed provider of funeral related services, says it has been in discussions with the CMA about the sector.
Mike McCollum, chief executive of Dignity, said: "Dignity has made clear that we welcome the CMA's investigation into the funeral market and look forward to continuing our work with the CMA and other industry bodies to protect consumers."
Dignity, the only stock market listed funeral company, has reported a 43% fall in annual profits to £40.5m.
Mike McCollum, chief executive, said 2019 is likely to mark the start of the Competition and Markets Authority's investigation into the industry.
"Our surveys demonstrate that the majority of clients assume the funeral industry is regulated, when it is not. Some may assume that they will receive the same quality of service from different operators irrespective of price. They will not".
Dignity, the funeral business, has reported a 14% fall in third quarter operating profits on sales marginally ahead at £244.2m.
The company says its average income is lower because of pricing trials where it has "unbundled" its full service funeral pricing so people do not have to buy a whole package from the firm.
Dignity says it expects average income will be lower in the fourth quarter of this year but adds it continues to perform in line with expectations.
It said deaths rose by 3% to 455,000 in the year to date and it forecasts this will rise to 600,000 deaths for 2018 as a whole.
A price war in the funeral business has hit shares in Dignity, which are down by more than 6%.
The Co-op Group has cut the price of its standard funeral by £100 to £1,895.
Robert Maclachlan, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, said: "Funerals are becoming increasingly price sensitive and in the last two years we have seen a huge shift in the number of clients seeking affordable funeral choices."
Co-op has a 16% share of the UK funeral market, while Dignity has a 12% share.