Retail REITs as a group posted total returns of 33.41 percent in 2010, the fastest pace of growth since 2004 for the sector.

The performance of all three retail sub-sectors was fairly consistent. Freestanding retail REITs led the pack with total returns rising 37.37 percent in 2010 followed by regional mall REITs (34.64 percent) and shopping center REITs (30.78 percent).

That is a sharp break from 2009 when regional mall REITS (up 62.99 percent) vastly outperformed freestanding retail REITs (up 25.93 percent) and shopping center REITS (down 1.66 percent.) The results were also divergent in 2008 when regional mall REITs (down 60.60 percent) fared much worse than the shopping center REITs (down 38.84 percent) and freestanding mall REITs (down 15.09 percent).

Source: NAREIT