The Ten Companies That Control The Death Industry

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Carriage Services Inc. (CSV)
> Interesting Fact: Carriage Services is the fourth largest publicly traded in the death care industry
> # of Employees: 917
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $45.5 Million
> Most Recent Net Income: $859,000

Carriage Services operates 147 funeral homes in 25 states and 33 cemeteries in 12 states.  The company is a significant provider of prefunded funeral and burial services.  This allows people to plan ahead by purchasing interment rights, grave sites, mausoleums, and crypts in advance.  The company plans to increase its annual revenue by 43% by the end of 2014.

1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS)
> Interesting Fact: The site offers instructions on how to help others deal with the loss of a loved one
> # of Employees: 2,200
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $104.5 million
> Most Recent Net Income: ($5.1 million)

A significant portion of 1-800 flowers’ revenue comes from the funeral business. The company offers a variety of arrangements, including “sympathy bouquets,” “casket sprays,” funeral wreaths, and crosses. These items are prominently displayed on the company site, as are books and guidance from a “celebration expert,” and an original video which outlines “how to express sympathy with flowers and gifts.”  According to one 1-800-FLOWERS representative, “Sympathy remains an important business for retail florists and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM works closely with…florists to help them grow their share in this category.”


Rock of Ages Corp. (ROAC)
> Interesting Fact: The largest integrated granite quarrier and manufacturer of
finished granite memorials and granite blocks for memorial use in North America
> # of Employees: 257
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $15.8 Million
> Most Recent Net Income: $2.2 Million

Rock of Ages is primarily a provider of granite used for memorials, including tombstones and mausoleums.  The company operates eight different active quarries and four manufacturing facilities.  The company’s revenue is divided between the selling of raw granite from its quarries and the manufacturing and selling of its final memorial products to 115 independent retailers.  The company was founded in 1885 and is headquartered in Graniteville, Vermont.

Stewart Enterprises Inc. (STEI)
> Interesting Fact: Stewart facilities manages funerals and burials at each of its sites at a rate that is more than double that of an average funeral home which means its operations are unusually efficient.
> # of Employees: 4,000
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $125.3 Million
> Most Recent Net Income: $9.1 Million

Funeral homes and cemeteries in the United States perform an average of approximately 110 funerals and 150 burials per year.  Stewart, on the other hand, performs approximately 265 funerals and 320 burials per year per location.  The company currently owns 218 funeral home locations and 140 cemeteries, about 9,900 acres.  Appoximately 38% of the company’s land, a significant portion of which is located in Florida, Texas, and California, is still available for burial plots.

Matthews International (MATW)
> Interesting Fact: Largest percent of revenue comes from bronze plaques
> # of Employees: 4,900
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $256 million.
> Most Recent Net Income: $20.6 million

Matthews International develops “memorialization products” including caskets and urns.  Its specialty is “graphic imaging” – the process of engraving headstones and plaques. Bronze plaques – an often-overlooked means of remembrance – accounted for 27.7% of its 2009 sales.  The company was founded in 1850 and is based in Pittsburgh.

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Amazon.com (AMZN)
> Interesting Fact: Amazon sells a steel embalming table
> # of Employees: 21,700
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $7.6 billion
> Most Recent Net Income: $231 million

Amazon.com helped bring the funeral service online.  Like Wal-Mart, the company offers caskets in more than 50 different varieties.  Additionally, it sells a steel embalming table for $1,095 and pet urns for under $200.  Many caskets are sold at 67% off the list price, thanks to a partnership with Bestpricecaskets.com.

StoneMor Partners (STON)
> Interesting Fact: Company performed 37,782 burials in 2009
> # of Employees: 2,156
> Most Recent Quarter Revenue: $52.1 Million
> Most Recent Net Income: $4.6 Million

Like Service Corp. International, StoneMor Partners is a multifaceted death care conglomerate.  The company operates more than 200 cemeteries in 24 states and 58 funeral homes in 16 states.  It also sells interment rights, caskets, and other merchandise.  In 2009, the company sold 25,842 interment rights and performed 37,782 burials.

Michael B. Sauter, Charles. B Stockdale, Douglas A. McIntyre