The big supermarkets have upped their promotional game once more in November – pushing the limits of available space in stores.

With all eyes on value following the launch of Sainsbury’s Brand Match and Tesco’s Big Price Drop, everyone is under pressure to keep up the momentum on promos. So it’s no surprise that all of the big four ran more deals in the four weeks to 13 November than they did this time last year.

The biggest year-on-year increases among the big four came at Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which supported their new value campaigns by boosting their deals 14% and 27% respectively.

By continuing to increase deal numbers, the multiples are now running out of promotional space. “Space continues to be pushed to its limits,” said Assosia analyst Kay Staniland. “Any area off the main fixture where either a display stand, rack or basket can be set is being utilised.” Supermarkets are now promoting so hard they’re running out of space in stores. Only Asda remains static on deal numbers. Guy Montague-Jones reports

Not content to just increase the number of products on offer, the supermarkets are also offering bigger savings. The percentage savings on deals increased at all the supermarkets, with the exception of Asda, which was also the most subdued retailer when it came to deal numbers – increasing them by just 0.6% year-on-year.

Retailers are being more straightforward with consumers by cutting the prices of individual items rather than trying to lure them into multibuys. The use of the half-price mechanic has increased from just 14% of deals last November to 20% this year.

With most of the supermarkets moving in the same direction on promotions, the choice of category remains a way of standing out from the crowd. “Each of the retailers is focusing on different categories – maybe as a point of difference,” said Staniland.

Tesco, for example, almost doubled the percentage share of promos in the beer, wine and spirit category from 11% to 21% as rivals trimmed alcohol deals. Meanwhile, Asda slashed the impulse category’s share of deals seven percentage points to 26% as Waitrose upped impulse’s share of activity 10 percentage points to 18%.

However, Waitrose’s move is not about differentiation – it is about aligning its promotional strategy more closely with its bigger rivals. While still offering fewer deals than the big four supermarkets, it pledged last month to run more than 1,000 offers – something it had already been doing since August. The upshot was a massive 43% more deals this November than last.