The end of the World Cup brought a slowdown in the promotional frenzy that had gripped the retailers for a couple of months.
The total number of items on promotion in the top five grocery retailers fell 10.7% to 7,367 in the four weeks to 1 August, from 8,252 the previous month, reveals Promo Dynamic data from Assosia. The figure was also down slightly compared with July last year, when 7,634 items were offered on promotion.
Month-on-month, Asda and Morrisons cut promotions the most, the former slashing the number of offers by 19% and the latter by 12.8%. Indeed, Asda had the fewest promotions of the top five retailers other than Waitrose, which carries fewer SKUs. The number of deals at Asda was also down year-on-year, by 10%, but nowhere near as much as Waitrose's, which were down 31.2% to 830.
The figures suggest Asda may have started delivering on its promise to reduce promotional activity in favour of EDLP. However, Assosia MD Kay Staniland warned against reading too much into the figures.
"The number of promotions in Asda has fallen the most, but it ended its World Cup promotions earlier than anyone else," she said. "The figures have been skewed by the World Cup and we will have to wait for next month to see whether it is really doing less promotions."
While the number of deals at Asda and Waitrose were down year-on-year, Morrisons' were up (12.2%) as were Tesco's (1.3%) and Sainsbury's (1.5%), although deals were down month-on-month at Tesco and Sainsbury's.
Unsurprisingly, the number of promotions offered on alcoholic drinks has fallen. Beer accounted for 6.7% of deals during June but this dropped to 5.1% in July, resulting in beer falling from being the second-most promoted category to third. Wine, however, retained its pole position in the category table although its share of total promotions dropped from 11% in June to 10.2% last month. Spirits, meanwhile, fell from 3.1% of deals to 2.6%.
The fall in alcohol promotions has been accompanied by a rise in deals on confectionery, which accounted for 4.5% of total promotions in June but 5.2% in July.