Dignity shares fall 6pc as Co-op increases sector competition

Dignity shares fall 6pc as Co-op increases sector competition

Shares in Dignity fell six percent after Co-op offered to beat the cost of the funeral services offered by rivals.

As the competition within the funeral industry grows more intense, Co-op said on Monday said it would reduce the cost of its “simple” funeral by £100, to £1,895.

“The key concern post Dignity’s announcement of price reductions in January to match the Co-op on Simple funerals was that the Co-op would respond – it now has with a £100 price reduction,” said analyst Charles Hall.

Although it cut prices earlier this year, Dignity’s budget option is still more expensive than the standard package from the Co-op.

Peel Hunt, an analyst firm, warned that if Dignity cut prices more it would knock up to £1.5 million off the group’s profits.

A report from Sunlife said in its Cost of Dying report that the cost of the average basic funeral had risen for the fifteenth year in a row to £4,271.

Dignity and Co-op both own a big share of the market and are responsible for 12 percent and 16 percent of the market respectively.

Robert Maclachlan, the managing director of Co-op’s Funeralcare business, said the decision to lower prices and match competitors was to focus on “tackling affordability”.

“In the last two years we have seen a huge shift in the number of clients seeking affordable funeral choices,” he said.

James Congdon, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said: “There is plenty of evidence that prices are too high.”

“With the backdrop of the CMA investigation into pricing, and clarity of pricing, perhaps its not a surprise that prices are coming down.”

Shares in Dignity (LON: DTY) are down 5.33 percent at 977,00 (1804GMT).