People’s undertaker doing fine

Charles Cowling

Nail coffin

Wholly non-relevant photo


The Co-operative Group reports that, for the 53 weeks ended 5 January 2013, funerals revenue was up 6.4% to £348m, with operating profit up to £60m from £55m. 


8 thoughts on “People’s undertaker doing fine

  1. Charles Cowling
    whistle blower

    Made a profit. Even after paying of. There staff for there own cock ups the companies a joke. Enough to make any turn in there graves

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    There are very few independent co-ops left, Ian. Plymouth and South-West was the latest to join The Group.

    I must say, I have no real beef with Dignity. They are representative capitalists dedicated to showering their shareholders with dividends and enriching themselves. Banal.

    But the rationale for The Co-operative is its social purpose, and it is simply not discharging that. Whether the reason for that is incompetence or something darker I do not know.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Ian Quance

    Quality of service is all that matters.

    Agree with you Charles re the Rochdale people; are the various Co-op companies still co-operatives? My grandmother’s funeral in 1967 was prepaid using the divi – she bought everything from the Co-op. I suspect things have changed.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Thanks Simon… Excellent concise evidence…. The Co-Op will look after us.

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Simon, I am tempted to ask who needs Pesto when we’ve got you. What a brilliant and illuminating analysis. Thank you for it. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

    It is a matter of astonishment that financial and consumer journalists let all this pass them by. What chumps.

    All the big chains will be burnt off by greater consumer scrutiny; that’s just a matter of time. But I think that there will be great rage against those who purport to be keepers of the flame lit all those years ago by those working folk in Rochdale. Let us never forget what their rationale was: it was to enable working people to buy what they would otherwise be unable to afford.

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Simon Smith

    Of course it depends on the definition of operataing margin. I looked up average margins for different industries (US based information and for Funeral Services the average of 6 (presumably large) companies for earnings before depreciation, interest and tax (EBITDA) was 18.90% or just EBIT (common definition of operating profit 14.37%. Coop managed 17.2%. I would think that if you can keep up with US funeral margins in the UK you are definitely doing a good job of lightening the bank accounts of the bereaved. But they must be gutted really because Dignity made an operating profit in 2012 of £69.4 million on just £230 million of revenues, an operating margin of 30%!!!! Coop is going to have to try harder. Sectors with companies that average operating margins of more than 30% before tax, interest and depreciation include drug (pharma) 35%, well they have to do lots of research, computer software 34% (again lots of development costs), utilities 35% (lots of infrastructure), financial services 65% (ha ha all the way to the bank), petroleum 31%. See the picture? All companies that have enormous infrastructure or do huge amounts of blue sky research. And the second largest funeral director in the UK – which spends lots of money on uumm, now let me see, research into the effective selling of funeral plans? We really ought to get Robert Peston onto this one.

    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    David Holmes

    Bravo! I am sure they are all very pleased with themselves. The tight fiscal control, credit checking of less well off clients, higher prices, staff targets and operational efficiencies are all paying dividends.

    Charles Cowling
  8. Charles Cowling
    andrew plume

    yes well

    imo, a monumental profit, no doubt George, David, Sam & Co are all delighted and well they should be, particularly after all that was “aired” (sic) last year

    ………..or is it just a case that their way, way too costly funerals must surely deliver that sort of profit?


    Charles Cowling

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