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Carriage Services Announces Fourth Quarter 2008 Results
Date:2/26/2009

rget="_new">www.carriageservices.com for a link to our consolidated Annual and Quarterly Trend Reports.

FUNERAL OPERATIONS

Fourth quarter Same Store Funeral Operations Revenue increased 1.2% as the average revenue per contract increased 4.1% while the number of contracts declined 2.9%. Revenue from the Acquisition portfolio increased $0.8 million primarily because of a full quarter of revenue from two large businesses acquired in the fourth quarter of 2007. The overall cremation rate for the fourth quarter of 2008 was 39.2%, which represents a slight decline from the third quarter. A recent initiative to increase the average revenue per cremation contract largely by converting direct cremations to cremations with services is getting traction and helping not only our cremation average, but customer satisfaction levels with our cremation families. As a result of this initiative, which includes new training and presentation options for client families, the average revenue per cremation contract increased 3.4% from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2008 and the proportion of cremations with services increased in each of our three regions.

Same Store Funeral Field EBITDA declined by $0.4 million, equal to 3.3%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, while the related EBITDA Margin declined to 38% from 40%, primarily the result of higher labor costs. Our funeral Acquisitions portfolio contributed an additional $0.2 million of Field EBITDA compared to the prior year quarter.

For the full year, Same Store Funeral Revenue increased $2.4 million, equal to 2.1%, to $115.7 million. Total Same Store Funeral contract volume increased 0.7% and the atneed contract volume increased 3.1% compared to 2007. Growing market share is the highest weighted performance standard in our Standards Operating Model and serves as an incentive motivator for the local managing partners to grow their
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SOURCE Carriage Services, Inc.
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