Two retail giants have seen different levels of success when it comes to selling food and fresh produce in particular.

This month Wal-Mart and Target released quarterly results. Wal-Mart showed nice growth of 1.6% for the quarter boosted by fresh food.

Meanwhile, Target struggled, as both total and grocery-specific comparable sales were down, falling 1.1% in the quarter.

One analyst said Wal-Mart has gotten away from value-only appeal and has made gains based on better quality and merchandising. But another criticized it for losing its edge to competitors who beat Wal-Mart on price.

Target executives made some excuses such as “food deflation” and took responsibility, but only in vague terms, for its struggle.

We don’t expect them to lay out all their strategy in a press conference.

An analyst said Target has made little commitment to food and perishables, and it shows. Another said Target is a smart retailer who often finds solutions. He suggested Target should focus on fast-turning items like bananas, apples and oranges.

A smaller part of Wal-Mart’s business is in its Neighborhood Market concept, which increased 6.5% in year-over-year growth. This indicates Wal-Mart is closer to the right formula for success and just has to weigh the investment.

Target has made a big splash in perishables in the past, so we’re optimistic it finds the right strategy for selling lots of fruits and vegetables profitably.

But it doesn’t appear it has that focus right now.

Did we get it right? Leave a comment with your opinion.