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

on of the underperformance occurred at Rolling Hills Memorial Park where a new sales manager has been busy rebuilding a sales organization that can execute our product sales program more effectively. Our Acquisition Cemetery portfolio provided an incremental $2.1 million in revenues and $0.9 million in Field EBITDA in 2008 compared to 2007.

In order to increase revenues from preneed property sales, Carriage began an initiative in the third quarter of 2008 to increase both the quantity and quality of the cemetery sales counselors at our major parks. Management believes that this hiring initiative was approximately 80% complete at year end and continued hiring emphasis should achieve appropriate staffing by the end of the first quarter of 2009. General economic weakness continued in some of the Company's key markets and is having a negative impact on revenues, particularly preneed property sales.

LITIGATION

Carriage has reached a tentative settlement in a class action matter alleging violations of state and federal wage and hour laws. As a result of the settlement, there was a $3.5 million charge, including related legal fees, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

OVERHEAD

Total Overhead, excluding special charges, increased to $5.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 from $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. For the full year, Total Overhead increased $0.2 million, equal to 1.0%, to $20.1 million, but declined as a percent of total revenue by 50 basis points to 11.4%. The year over year increases in overhead were primarily related to upgrading of regional operating leadership during the last two years. In order to effectively manage our largest cost during the current economic crisis, the Company froze the salaries and wages of all employees during December 2008.

INCOME TAXES

During the fourth quarter Carriage revised its ef
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SOURCE Carriage Services, Inc.
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