Grocery promotions hit a record 37% of sales last month – but failed to boost volume growth, new figures from Nielsen show.

Value sales increased by 4.1% year-on-year in the four weeks to 2 October, largely driven by food inflation. Sales by volume edged up by just 0.4%.

The proportion of sales made on deal topped the previous high of 36% last November.

“It will be worrying to those in the industry to see negligible volume growths coming out of a month where we have seen huge levels of fmcg promotions,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s senior manager for retailer services.

“It’s almost the case of running hard to stand still.”

The amount sold on promotion has increased dramatically since the beginning of the recession. In September 2006 26.5% of spend going through supermarket tills in supermarkets was on promotion. That proportion rose to 29% by September 2008 and last year stood at 34.5%.

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