A Midland funeral giant has reported a rise in profits as pre-arranged funeral plan sales continue to hold up.
Sutton Coldfield firm Dignity, which has more than 600 funeral locations, unveiled a 4% rise in operating profits to £23.4 million in the 13 weeks to March 30, as revenues rose 3% to £61.1 million.
The group, which in 2011 held 62,300 funerals, said the year started "relatively quietly" but business had been "noticeably busier" in March compared to the previous year.
And Dignity said sales of its pre-arranged funeral plan, which allows customers to plan a funeral in advance and make provisions towards the cost through its Dignity Guaranteed Funeral Plan, continue to be "robust".
The group acquired seven funeral locations and has opened seven satellite locations since the start of the year.
It also began operating one crematorium and three cemeteries on behalf of Haringey Council in late April and remains on track to open its crematorium in Essex in the second quarter of 2012.
Mike McCollum, Dignity chief executive, said: "This is a good performance by the group with the first quarter being slightly ahead of our expectations. We continue to increase the number of funeral and crematoria locations we operate and pre-arranged funeral plan sales continue to be strong."