With a dismal start to the British summer, the alcohol category is continuing to push its promotional offers, with the sector accounting for 22% of all featured space promotional activity in the major multiples last weekend, putting it ahead of all other categories.

In terms of the sub-categories, in recent months beer & lager has been losing share of promotional activity to wine, but last week the two sub-categories were neck and neck with 36% of activity each.

Spirits accounted for 15% of featured promotional activity, cider 8% and flavoured alcoholic beverages the remaining 4%.

In the beer & lager and cider sub-categories, only four promotional mechanics were utilised last weekend, but in a shift that reflects the need for bulk purchases, x-for-y accounted for 72% of activity with the more basic 'save' mechanic a long way behind in second place with 18%. Half-price was at third with 9% and special purchase was at 1%.

The year-to-date figures for promotional mechanics for beer & lager and cider also show the move towards bulk-purchasing offers compared with the same period in 2007.

The x-for-y promotion is the preferred overall mechanic for the two sub-categories so far this year, an increase of eight points and one position to 52% ­compared with the same period in 2007.

The save mechanic has dropped 10 points to second place with 38%. Half-price has been used on 5% of offers so far this year, putting it in third place, up from joint fifth place in the first six months of 2007.

Special purchase price, a mechanic usually used for introductory offers or limited periods, has been used in 3% of lager & beer and cider offers in 2008 so far, dropping two points and one place from its position in 2007.

Bogof holds on to fifth place with 2% of activity, up one point from the same position in 2007.

Focus on Beer & Cider p39