Walmart served up some especially good news on Thursday with its second-quarter results: Its grocery business is thriving again. The retailer—the largest grocer in the United States by far with annual sales of about $170 billion—said comparable sales of food and other grocery items rose by a low single digit percentage in the May to July quarter, notching its best performance in the key category in five years, with produce and meat as standouts, “Fortune” reports.
The strong performance comes at a crucial time for Walmart as it gears up Amazon's pending acquisition of upscale food store chain , and girds for growing price pressure from German deep food discounted Lidl as it establishes itself in the United States, and Aldi, a similar German retailer that is expanding its fleet and overhauling many stores. It even faces the prospect of a reinvigorated food business at Target, where grocery sales have at last stopped falling though they're hardly thriving. Walmart gets 56% of annual sales from grocery, making the category vital for its well being.