Food retailers attempted to drive growth in February by promoting at a similar level to Christmas – but sales were still sluggish, new data shows.

Growth in the four weeks to 20 February at the multiples was 2.3%, while volumes were up by just 0.5%, according to Nielsen.

The figures demonstrated the economic recovery would be slower than anticipated, Nielsen said, and reflected that food inflation was much lower than a year ago, and is no longer driving growth in the market.

“The level of promotions in February stood at 34% which is similar to that usually seen at key seasonal trading periods,” said Mike Watkins, senior manager retailer services at Nielsen.

“Despite this, sales have remained subdued.  Some retailers have been relying on seasonal events such as Valentine’s or Chinese New Year to drive sales up.”

Morrisons continued to lead growth in the multiples, with sales 9% up during the period.

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