Pizza delivery firm Domino's Pizza said it was close to naming its new boss as it posted a 10.8% rise in first quarter UK underlying sales and a 3.4% in Irish sales.

The company said that sales at UK stores open over a year rose 10.8% in the 13 weeks to March 30, helped by its most popular ever meal deal that proved particularly successful in the early wet weeks of 2014.

Online sales continued to grow strongly too, with 69.4% of UK delivered sales now coming via the internet, up from 61.9% in the same period a year ago.

The group, which has over 860 stores mainly in the UK, said underlying sales were also up across its smaller businesses in Switzerland and Germany, although its performance in the latter had been weighed down by a restructuring there.

In February, Domino's reported a 1.9% rise in pre-tax profit to £47.6m but booked heavy exceptional costs related to impairments and other charges at its loss-making business in Germany, where expansion plans have hit trouble.

The firm hopes to boost German sales by reducing costs and transferring its poorly-trading own-managed stores to more successful franchisees during the first half of 2014.

Domino's added it expected to name a new chief executive soon. Ex-Halfords boss David Wild has been temporarily running the group since January 31 following Lance Batchelor's surprise decision to join travel and insurance group Saga.

The company said that it remains confident of delivering its target of 40 to 50 new stores this year.