Normal service has been ­resumed following a drop in the number of deals in April as large items such as garden furniture and barbecues hogged promotional space.

Big-box products have now made room for smaller items, bringing about a 4.3% month-on-month hike in the number of deals offered in the four weeks to 5 June.

“The larger items are not quite as prevalent at the moment ­ the ­window of opportunity was the ­extended bank holidays,” said Kay Staniland, MD of promotions analysts Assosia. “They are not taking up the main featured space.”

Brands have driven the increase in activity. Conversely, the number of own-label offers has fallen 13.6%. “Own label fluctuates as featured spaces are high-profile areas and brands pay significant sums to be on them,” said Staniland. “Retailers use them for own-label at key periods, but it isn’t sustainable to consistently use those ­locations for their own goods.”

Year-on-year, by far the biggest leap in branded activity came from Northern Foods’ Fox’s biscuits, which posted a whopping 561% increase in deals. Central to the brand’s activity were price cuts and bogofs on its Rocky bars, run to ­support an on-pack promotion ­offering two-for-one entry to Alton Towers. There were also deals on its Fox’s Cream range and Fox’s Assortment.

“This is partly a seasonal phenomenon,” says Northern Foods communications head Andrew Hanson. “Summer is a time when biscuit brands typically up their promotional activity.”

Although confectionery brands Nestlé and Cadbury have both reduced their promotions month-on-month, and Nestlé has also done so year-on-year, the typical saving in confectionery has grown 10.6 percentage points year-on-year to 37.8%. The only category offering a larger increase is crisps and snacks, up 14 percentage points to 40.8%.

There has been a big shift towards x-for-y deals since last year, with the proportion of total featured space promotions using the mechanic up seven percentage points. The biggest increase has been in own-label, where the number of ­x-for-y offers has risen 71% from 463 a year ago to 792.

A few brands have shied away from x-for-y over the past year, most notably Nestlé, which has favoured bogofs, and Walkers, which has shifted towards price cuts. The biggest increase in x-for-y deals has been in fresh ­produce, up 198% from 98 offers to 292.