WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, said it was on track for its full year like-for-like net sales target after winning newwork, despite posting a slight slowdown in the first quarter. 

WPP, which counts the likes of Ford, Unilever and Microsoft among its clients, reported a 3.3% rise in 2014 like-for-like net sales and a 3.9% rise in January.

It said it posted first-quarter growth of 2.5% but said this still fitted within its forecast for the full-year as it expects growth to accelerate over time.

Profits and margin were well above target, the company added. 

Analysts said the British group, run by the high-profile businessman Martin Sorrell, had faced tough comparatives in the first quarter and welcomed the reiteration of the full-year outlook and the near $1 billion of net new business it announced. 

The measurement more commonly used by its peers, like-for-like revenue, was up 5.2% in the period, in line with rival Omnicom, the biggest US advertising company, and ahead of France's Publicis which posted growth of 0.9%.