Year-on-year and month-on-month, Asda is the only one of the big five retailers to have increased promotion levels, writes Beth Phillips

Back in February, Asda laid out plans to reduce promotions and return to an Every Day Low Pricing strategy.

Speaking at the time, the then CEO Andy Bond said Asda had allowed itself to become too promotional, and that the focus for 2010 would be "sucking out the promotional money on offer from our suppliers" to invest in lowering prices across the board.

But as 2010 draws to a close, the latest data from Assosia again shows that, far from reducing its deal levels, the supermarket chain is leading its rivals on the promotions front.

Year-on-year, Asda has been the only retailer to increase promotions. Its number of offers has ­risen 23.4%, while closest rival Tesco has reduced deals by 13.9%, and Morrisons by 9.3%.

Data for the four weeks to 5 December shows that Asda with a 10.6% hike was also the only one of the big five to increase promotions month-on-month. Morrisons reduced its promotions by the greatest amount (16.3%) and Waitrose the least (4.8%).

Asda had 1,997 offers in the four-week period again, more than any other retailer. Its closest rival was Morrisons, with 1,758 promotions.

Asda also had the lowest typical average saving, at 29% although, to be fair, at £4.04, its offers were at a much lower starting price than its peers.

The supermarket with the best deals was Tesco, where the average saving on promotions was £2.34. Morrisons had the smallest average saving, at £2.03, but was only 3p behind Asda and 5p behind Sainsbury's.

Tesco also had the greatest average saving on branded products, at 38.6%, while Waitrose had the smallest, at 28.5%. Waitrose did, however, have the greatest average saving on own-label lines, at 32.2%, which was almost double that of Asda, which had the lowest ­average saving.

With the supermarkets gearing up for the Christmas rush over the past four weeks, it was hardly surprising to find the greatest number of deals in the confectionery aisle, with promotions up 5.6%. Festive favourites such as crisps, snacks & nuts (1%), carbonated drinks (0.8%) and pickles, sauces and ketchups (0.6%) were also up.

But surprisingly the number of promotions in the alcohol category actually fell despite some eye-­watering deals on beer, wines and spirits. Offers on wine were down 0.5%, spirits down 2.4% and beer & lager down 0.1%.