Despite some decline from the previous year, the number of new centers and stores built in 2001 reflects signs of an industry continuing to fare well in a turbulent economy, according to data collected from the 64 retail contractors that participated in Shopping Center World’s 2002 Top Contractors Survey.

The survey ranks the major players of the retail real estate industry. Typically, the results published by magazine include shell space and interior space averaged over the course of five years.

This year, our editorial team compiled information over the past year in order to provide a more accurate economic picture of 2001.

With recent global events, such as the war on terrorism and the country’s uncertain economic climate, the tally of square footage built in the past year, as well as the square footage of current space under construction, better represents the state of the retail real estate industry.

Significant findings from this year’s survey include:

o Shell space built from January 1 to December 31, 2001, ranges from 28,000 sq. ft. to 6 million sq. ft., averages approximately 1.1 million sq. ft. and totals about 74.2 million sq. ft.

o Interior space built from January 1 to December 31, 2001, ranges from 55,000 sq. ft. to approximately 5.8 million sq. ft., averages approximately 1.4 million sq. ft. and totals about 92.4 million sq. ft.

o Retail square footage (both interior and shell) currently under construction as of March 31, 2002, ranges from 110,000 sq. ft. to 9.8 million sq. ft., averages approximately 1.4 million sq. ft. and totals about 89.1 million sq. ft.

o Percent of total business that is comprised of retail/shopping centers ranges from 3% to 100%, with an average of 63.9%.

Wal-Mart, Target and The Home Depot took the first three spots for most active clients, continuing last year’s trend of building more stores throughout the country.

— Diana Shkolnik