Forbes has released its top ten list of fastest growing retailers for 2010.  I always find this list interesting and a great snapshot of the buying habits of Americans.  I also think it will be a great indicator of what aspects of retail will lead the retail design recovery.

Leading the pack in 2010 is Apple.  Surprised?  No one is.  Apple has the alchemy of great product, helpful staff, inviting space and trend balanced to perfection.   Like bees to honey (or worms to the apple) these stores give Apple the more money per square retail foot than any other retailer.

Fastest Growing Retailers, 2010

The Apple Store in NYC.

Second on the list is Amazon, which is fascinating.  The dichotomy of a successful brick and mortar store selling goods usually purchased on-line against an online only retailer selling goods usually purchased at brick and mortar stores confirms that the retail game is changing.  People are shopping on-line for many reasons and are doing it more and more often.

According to a recent article by Lori Enos & Robert Conlin in, avoiding trips to the store, being able to buy from non-local merchants, better prices, shopping without salesperson pressure and easier comparison shopping as reasons for on-line shopping and purchases.

I am fascinated by this trend and hope to go further into this in a later article.  To finish the thought however, I feel that retail brick and mortar will become more of a show room while companies follow the cost effective model of warehousing most of their inventory for web and catalog sales.

Not all successful retail in 2010 is online.  One company is seeing fantastic growth in its brick and mortar stores, that is Urban Outfitters. Urban Outfitters has carved a very lucrative niche and is being rewarded for it.

The remainder of the list is mostly fast-food and restaurant chains. This is interesting.  I will be closley watching the retail food industry.  Retail is off cycle, meaning the usual remodel, image update retail spaces go through every three to five years has been put on hold because of the economy.   I believe the remodel, re-branding of retail restaurant spaces will be a tell tale sign of a retail design recovery.