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The Funeral Business Is Doing Great!

And not because of Covid.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from the good folks at Service Corporation International, “North America’s leading provider of funeral, cremation, and cemetery services” - handling 450,000 corpses* a year.

(*not their word).

Service Corporation’s earnings boomed in 2020 and 2021, thanks to Covid. Funerals are a solid but slow-growth business, and the trend toward cremations hasn’t helped. But between 2019 and 2021, SCI’s earnings per share more than doubled, from $1.90 to $4.57.

At first, SCI worried that growth was what it called “pull-forward.” In other words, because Covid mostly killed people who were close to death anyway, more deaths in 2020 and 2021 would just mean fewer later.

Lucky for Service Corporation and its investors, pull-forward isn’t turning out to be a problem. Americans are still dying at rates well above normal, even as Covid becomes a minimal part of business this year.