The countdown to the Olympics saw featured space promotions elbowed out in three of the top five this week, as gondola ends were given over to assorted London 2012-themed goods.

Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all reduced promotions, both month-on-month and year-on-year, and also focused on giving more promotional space to single brands.

“Bigger displays with fewer ‘different’ products or brands seems to be the trend,” said Kay Staniland, Assosia managing director.

Morrisons reined in the most, cutting back by 5.8% on last month and 9.7% compared with last year [Assosia 4 w/e 22 July]. This brings Morrisons sharply in line with the other multiples. Last July, with 2,024 promotions, it ran 10% more than second-placed Sainsbury’s with 1,833. This July it ran just two more promotions than Sainsbury’s.

Wholesale prices 21 July 2012: nuts
Peanut prices have tumbled over the past month, as the US crop started to move over from 2011 to 2012 crop prices.

At £1,446.6/tonne, the nuts are now nearly 20% cheaper than they were last month, driven in part by a substantial increase in planted area in the US. According to USDA forecasts, the 2012 peanut plantings will cover an area of 1.5 million acres, up from 1.1 million acres in 2011.

However, total global supplies are expected to increase only marginally, from 35.5 million tonnes in 2011/12 to 36.9 million tonnes in 2012/13, leading peanut prices to remain elevated, up 20.6% year-on-year.

At the opposite end of the market, desiccated coconut is down 37.2% year-on-year, having fallen by a further 4.7% over the past month. Prices are down largely because of low demand and an expected increase in coconut production in producing areas such as the Philippines.

Deals at Sainsbury’s were 5.5% down on last month and down 2% at Tesco. Waitrose, however, bucked the trend by offering 15.4% more deals than last month and 17.9% more than last year. But with 1,033 deals, it still lags hundreds of promos behind the big four.

With the wet weather continuing for much of the period, beer and lager deals saw the biggest slump and were down 2.5% year-on-year. alcohol saw the biggest drop in all the retailers except for Asda, which almost doubled the number of wine and spirits promotions.

“The weather continues to have a significant impact on which products are being promoted. The retailers usually have their plans in place many weeks before but these plans are having to be revised to take advantage when the sun finally shines,” said Staniland.

The multibuy continued its fall from grace, with x-for-y promotions accounting for 26.9% of all deals, compared with 34.2% a year ago. Half-price offers picked up the most and accounted for 19.8% of all promotions, compared with 11.6% last year. Morrisons ran the most half-price deals, with the mechanic accounting for 34.9% of its deals, up from 9.1% last year. Tesco and Waitrose ran the highest proportion of multibuy deals, with x-for-y promotions or bogofs accounting for 38.7% and 43.7% respectively.