Metro's sales gained 2.3 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, to €15.5 billion, a statement said.
Pre-tax profit was positive at €4 million, coming out of a loss of €117 million in the first three months of 2009, but the group did not provide a net figure, which is likely to have remained in the red.
It did report a loss of €0.05 per share, a figure that was nonetheless better than the €0.30 per share loss a year earlier.
"In some countries, the worst of the economic crisis seems to be over," Metro chief executive Eckhard Cordes said in a statement.
While the situation remained challenging, the group now sees some light on the horizon, he added.
With the euro falling in value against many currencies, Metro and its subsidiaries benefitted from positive foreign exchange effects, especially in eastern Europe, and from an early Easter, which helped first quarter sales.
The weakest divisions, the Kaufhof and Real retail chains, managed to trim their losses while the electronics stores Media Markt and Saturn continued to provide the lion's share of revenues.