As Asda and Tesco slug it out over price, Sainsbury's has increased the number of promotions in featured space by 8.2% - to 2,116 offers in the four weeks to 17 April, according to Assosia - and is one of just two retailers to increase the number of deals in the ­period.

Year-on-year, offers increased by 19.1% way ahead of nearest rival Asda, which was up by 15.3%.

The typical average saving on an offer at Sainsbury's was £2.18, just behind Tesco, which offered the biggest average saving among the multiples at £2.31.

Analysts speculated that Sainsbury's was trying to increase footfall following a slowdown in sales since Christmas.

"In this tough economic climate it's important to make shopping easier on our customers' wallets," said a Sainsbury's spokesman.

"Our major Save 1/3 on all baby products promotion was particularly well received, as was our 3-for-2 on herbs & spices."

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