Retail REITs as a group have posted total returns of 4.51 percent through the first quarter of 2011 after posting total returns of 33.41 percent in 2010.

By sub-sector, regional mall REITs led the pack with total returns rising 6.30 percent through the end of the first quarter followed by shopping center REITs (2.94 percent) and freestanding retail REITs (-1.13 percent.)

In 2010, 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).

Source: NAREIT