Revenues at funeral-related services provider Dignity rose by 6% to £243.9m in the 39 weeks to 29 Sep. Underling operating profits were up 55% at £79.4m. The group said that following a very strong start to the year, the number of deaths in the third quarter was flat on the previous year. Overall, number of deaths in the 39-week period increased by 1% to 440,000. An update said: 'We continue to see significant competition across the business. 'Whilst our pre-arranged and crematorium businesses are performing strongly, we continue to see increasing price competition and new competitors in our funeral business. 'We remain focused on providing the highest level of service to our clients and improving our digital presence. 'The group continues to anticipate incremental costs of up to £1.0 million in 2017 in relation to this evolving strategy. 'This is expected to be a recurring expense in future years, with costs likely to increase over time.' Chief executive Mike McCollum said: 'Following the Group's solid third quarter results expectations for the full year remain unchanged. 'The board recognises the increasingly competitive environment and the consequential challenges facing the group. 'Alongside the work being undertaken on the group's digital strategy and our continued call for regulation of our markets, we are assessing other initiatives to help the group build on its strong market position.'
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