Deutsche Post, the German mail and logistics giant, posted a slight improvement in its first-quarter results on Thursday driven by its parcels division and business abroad. Net profit rose 0.8 percent in the January to March period compared to a year earlier, to reach 502 million euros ($688 million), in line with expectations of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Group EBIT -- or underlying profit -- jumped 2.3 percent to 726 million euros, while revenues rose 1.2 percent to 13.6 billion euros, the group said. Chief executive Frank Appel said that despite negative exchange-rate effects and a sluggish global economy, the group had performed well in the first quarter. "We got off to a good start in 2014, in line with our expectations and market circumstances," he said in a statement. The growth in online shopping in Germany helped push Deutsche Post's business in the transportation of parcels, while its DHL express services saw strong growth in the Asia Pacific region as well as Middle East and Africa. Looking ahead to the full year, the group said it forecast EBIT to rise to between 2.9 billion and 3.1 billion euros in 2014 despite the only slowly improving global economic climate.