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Dignity’s underlying profit falls 7% amid rising costs

The firm said it has ‘reviewed and repositioned’ pricing for its at-need services to ensure it offers the best value-for-money locally, whilst ‘inverting’ the organisation through a new organisational structure with 12 regions.

Dignity plc, the end-of-life provider in the UK, has announced underlying operating profit fell 7% to £55.8m in comparison to £60.3m the previous year, as a combination of rising costs and lower prices impacted margins.

According to its preliminary results for the 53 week period ended 31 December 2021, revenues also fell 1% to £353.7m from £357.5m the same period last year.

The firm said it was another year “heavily” impacted by the pandemic with an elevated death rate.

However, Dignity said a new strategy has been agreed, and “good” progress made in implementation.

The firm added it has “reviewed and repositioned” pricing for its at-need services to ensure it offers the best value-for-money locally, whilst “inverting” the organisation through a new organisational structure with 12 regions; focusing on removing management hierarchy and replacing this with a “locally empowered” leadership structure.

Dignity also said progress has been made to invest back into its funeral branches and crematoria, aiming to bring the group’s property portfolio to a “high standard.”

Additionally, the board agreed a formal climate commitment, pledging for the group to be net-zero (across Scope 1 and 2 emissions) by 2038, following an initial sustainability and ESG assessment.

Gary Channon, chief executive of Dignity plc, said: “2021 was a year of great change at Dignity as we set out and started implementing the new strategy which at its core promotes a culture focused on serving families and communities in all their end-of-life needs. 

“There isn’t a part of Dignity that hasn’t been affected by the transformation so far as we inverted the whole organisation, empowered those serving clients and organised ourselves in a more collaborative structure.”

He added: “I would like to call out the hard work, dedication and commitment of all our colleagues who continued to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic whilst coping with the rapid pace of organisational change that Dignity has gone through. Although there is still much work to do to complete the restructuring, we know what we need to do.”

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