LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Domino’s Pizza, Britain’s biggest pizza delivery firm, said it was close to naming its new boss as it posted a 10.8 percent rise in first-quarter UK underlying sales.
The company said on Wednesday sales at UK stores open over a year rose 10.8 percent in the 13 weeks to March 30, helped by its most popular ever meal deal - a 14.99 pounds ($25) large pizza and three sides “Winter Survival” offering that proved particularly successful in the early wet weeks of 2014.
Online sales continued to grow strongly too, with 69.4 percent of UK delivered sales now coming via the internet, up from 61.9 percent 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 Ireland, 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 percent rise in pretax profit to 47.6 million pounds 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 Jan. 31 following Lance Batchelor’s surprise decision to join travel and insurance group Saga.
Shares in Domino’s closed at 557.5 pence on Tuesday, down 7.5 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at 924 million pounds. ($1 = 0.6011 British Pounds) (Reporting by Neil Maidment, Editing by Paul Sandle)