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Cost of dying falls in Brexit Britain

Shares in Britain’s biggest listed funeral services company, Dignity, lost almost half their value on Friday as it warned families were becoming increasingly “cost-conscious.” (Reuters)
LONDON: From the cost of carpets to coffins, Brexit Britain is spooking consumers.

Shares in Britain’s biggest listed funeral services company, Dignity, lost almost half their value on Friday as it warned families were becoming increasingly “cost-conscious.”

But it is not all bad news for the beleaguered British consumer.

The uncertainty created by the country’s exit from Europe is at least making the cost of exiting this world for the next, more affordable.

Dignity is slashing the cost of its basic funeral by 25 percent with immediate effect while it is also planning a price freeze for its traditional funerals in most locations, its said on Friday.

Carpetright shareholders were in similarly funereal mood as they too watched about half the value of their shares wiped as the London market opened.

A slew of profit warnings from the British High Street, and now it seems, also the crematorium, reflect growing caution among British consumers over the direction of the economy as the country prepares to leave the EU.

Dignity warned its 2018 results would be substantially below market expectations as it cut some of its prices. That sent its stock tumbling by about 49 percent by 9:30 a.m. in London.

Meanwhile Carpetright’s profit warning wiped about £54 million ($75 million) from its market capitalization.

“The number of customer transactions since Christmas was sharply down, which we believe is indicative of reduced consumer confidence,” said Carpetright CEO Wilf Walsh.

Both Carpetright and Dignity are the latest in a long line of retailers that have warned on profits in recent weeks — leading to heavily discounting.

That trend has now extended to the cost of a funeral which Dignity said would be reduced with immediate effect to £1,995 (plus disbursements) in England and Wales.

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