Waitrose reduced its promotions this month, but the big four kept up the pace – although Asda shifted gear to focus on every day low pricing, says Chloe Ryan

Waitrose is the only retailer to have slashed promotions compared with this time last year, with 14.6% fewer products on offer. This marks a reversal in promotional strategy for the retailer, which during January increased its promotions by 21.6% year-on-year in an attempt to compete with the high level of offers at the big four.

But while Waitrose cut back this month, the big four all continued to ramp up their offers, with Tesco showing the greatest increase on last month, at 21.1%.

The data for Asda also paints an interesting picture. Chief executive Andy Bond recently said the retailer had become too promotional, and would refocus its strategy on every day low pricing rather than using offers to draw in shoppers.

Asda still increased promotions this month by 4.2% but this figure was the lowest of the big four, and markedly down on last month, when Asda's monthly increase was a whopping 57.9%.

Morrisons had the highest number of products on offer, at 1,786, and also the highest percentage of branded product promotions compared with own-label at 88%. It has upped its own-label activity, however, as last year the figure was 93%.

The mechanics of the promotions have also shifted again. Bogofs appear to have fallen out of favour while last year they accounted for 9.5% of all deals, now they are just 4.4%. And the number of x-for-y deals has also fallen by two percentage points year-on-year.

Straight savings are the most popular promotional mechanic currently, at nearly 40% of all promotions, and half-price deals are also picking up on last year, with 16.2% of promotions using this mechanic.

Beer, wine and spirit promotions are up on last year, and account for 15.9% of all deals. But the impulse category overtook beers, wines and spirits as the most promoted category in February, accounting for 20.7% of promotions.

Deals on meat, fish & poultry, and chilled dairy continued to fall. However, fresh produce promotions were up, from 3.5% of all deals last February to 5% this February.

More news on pricing