It may have stopped selling booze below cost, but this hasn’t stopped Asda running a fifth of its August promotions in the BWS aisle, reports Elinor Zuke

Having cut back massively on the number of deals it ran during July, Asda was back on the promotional bandwagon in August, increasing its activity almost 20% - far more than any other retailer.

Indeed three Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose reduced their promotional activity, according to the latest Promo Dynamic data from Assosia. Sainsbury's was the only other retailer to record an increase (4%), which kept it ahead of Asda in terms of the total number of deals, alongside Morrisons.

Although Asda has been sticking to its pledge to stamp out selling below-cost booze, it has shown no such restraint when it comes to discounting the alcoholic drinks category. In the four weeks to 5 September, 20% of its deals were in beers, wines and spirits, compared with just 8% a year ago.

Ramping up booze deals has come at the expense of chilled, which now accounts for less than 1.5% of Asda promotions well below the 5.6% average of other retailers, and meat, fish & poultry, which account for 3.6%, down from 9.9%.

Wine remained the most-promoted sub-category across the five supermarkets, at 12.6%, followed by ambient confectionery, which made up 4.2% of all deals.

Across all retailers, activity in the bakery category was up the most on last year (from 4.9% to 6.1%). In large part this has been down to Sainsbury's, where it represented 11.1% of total deals. "Bakery offerings in Sainsbury's have seen an increase in each sub-category but bread has seen the largest rise in promotional activity, more than double the same period last year," said Assosia MD Kay Staniland.

Month-on-month, Asda's average saving fell by one percentage point to 25.3%. The average saving at the other retailers increased by about one point, and Tesco's 32.5% is now the deepest cut.

Tesco and Waitrose have reduced the number of bogof deals compared with last year, while Morrisons and Sainsbury's have increased their use of the mechanic.

Asda, Tesco and Waitrose have increased the proportion of brands on deal, while Morrisons and Sainsbury's are promoting more own-label goods than a year ago.