It’s been a month of ups and downs on the gondola ends of Britain’s supermarkets - the up being the level of average saving offered on promoted products, the down being the number of deals.
Savings rose 0.9 percentage points in the four weeks to 4 September, to 32.1%, and are now 1.5 points up on last year, while the number of deals has fallen 1.1% month-on-month and a whopping 10.6% year-on-year.
The promotional picture couldn’t be more different from last month, when nine of the 10 most-promoted brands had reduced the savings they were offering, contributing to a 2.7 point fall in average savings, yet the number of deals was 1.4% higher than it had been the previous month.
These figures now look to have been a blip, however. “From time to time we will see a month that bucks the general trend,” said Kay Staniland, MD of retail analysts Assosia. “This may be down to a particular event taking place or simply brands saving funds for another time of year.”
Promotional activity over the past four weeks has very much resumed the profile it had prior to August. Six of the top 10 brands increased the depth of promotions they offered month-on-month and seven did so year-on-year.
While savings have risen, the number of featured-space promotions has crashed by more than 1,000 from a total of 9,486 a year ago to 8,482 with own-label activity falling 14.4% year-on-year compared with a 9.8% drop in the number of branded deals.
The drop was down to a decline in the number of brands promoting as well as a fall in the number of promotions run, claimed Staniland. “Space is not cheap and it may be that some of the smaller brands are picking their times a bit more carefully to make the best use of it,” she added.
Another factor is the amount of promotional space taken up by individual brands, with some of the biggest names filling half or even all of a gondola end once shared by a large number of brands. “While retailers may have once had 10 different brands on an end, it could now be given over to one brand or split between Walkers and Coca-Cola, for example,” said Staniland.
Although the total number of deals has dropped, many of the biggest brands ramped up their activity. Müller increased its deals from 64 last month to 88 as part of its activity to support the new blue livery of Corner, Müller Light and Müllerice, launched in July.