Walmart offers caskets, urns at Web site

Walmart offers caskets, urns at Web site

October 31st, 2009 by Brian Lazenby in Businesstopstory

(AP Photo/ In this screen shot taken from, a casket for sale on the Wal-Mart Web site is shown. Wal-Mart quietly put up about 15 caskets and dozens of urns on its Web site last week.

(AP Photo/ In this screen shot taken from,...

From diapers to funeral supplies, Walmart has everything the American consumer needs from birth to death.

The nation's largest retailer has begun selling caskets and cremation urns on the company's Web site, but area funeral homes claim they are not worried about being undercut in price.

Ed English, managing partner at Lane Funeral Home on Ashland Terrace, said a number of companies already have been selling caskets and funeral supplies online.

"No, we're not worried about it at all," he said. "I believe in a free and open market system."

Cade Williamson, owner of Legacy Funeral Home in Soddy-Daisy, agreed.

"I've looked at them, and they are really not priced all that much different," Mr. Williamson said. "In fact, some of the ones they have are more than ours."

Mr. English said Lane Funeral Home sells more than 20 caskets within Walmart's price range.

Walmart's Web site lists 14 caskets that start at $895. All are less than $2,000 except for the Sienna Bronze Casket which lists for $2,899.

The company also offers a variety of styles of cremation urns. A child or infant urn lists for $99.99, while the Web site advertises dozens of adult-sized urns ranging from $140 to $242. Walmart also sells several styles of pet urns that range from about $59 to $79.

Mr. Williamson said his funeral home sells caskets starting at about $700 but they can go as high as $12,000, depending upon what the customer wants.

Also, most area funeral homes offer something Walmart can't, Mr. Williamson said.

"I put my emphasis on service, not on price," he said. "That's what sets us apart from Walmart."

Walmart's caskets come from Star Legacy Funeral Network Inc., a company based in McHenry, Ill., that sells the same caskets for about the same price -- some less -- on its site, along with many others.

Star Legacy CEO Rick Obadiah said the response in the first week has been better than the company or Walmart expected, though he declined to give specifics.

A spokesman for also declined to release sales figures and downplayed the venture, but Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala wrote in an e-mail that numerous other online retailers offer funeral supplies.

"We are simply conducting a limited beta test to understand customer response," he wrote.

But Mr. Obadiah said it is not simply a test. He said more than 200 Star Legacy products, including pet urns and memorial jewelry, and eventually about two dozen caskets, will be sold at The company also supplies similar types of products to online retailer and urns to Walmart competitor CostCo.

Caskets from Walmart are guaranteed to ship within 48 hours, and federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.