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Several weeks ago we took a quick look at some of the top grossing U.S. retail chains by sales per square foot. Today we are releasing the full report analyzing the store productivity of 178 U.S.-based retail chains.

This cross-section of retailers spans 16 sectors and collectively these 178 companies operate over 200,000 stores with more than 4.6 billion square feet of store space, and generated over $1.5 trillion in retail store sales over the past 4 quarters. Below is a summary of the top 25 fastest-growing, highest sales per square foot and sales per store.

RetailSails 2011 Chain Store Productivity Report
(Click to enlarge)

Though they entered the retail arena just 10 years ago, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominates with sales per square foot nearly double that of its closest rival and manages to crack the top 10 in all 3 lists. It’s no surprise that luxury goods retailers take up a fair number of spots near the top in sales per square foot.

What’s unexpected is the number of chains selling mostly consumables that managed to crack the top 25, including Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) and Walgreens (NYSE:WAG).

It’s also interesting to note the number of smaller specialty brands, such as Joe’s Jeans (NASDAQ:JOEZ), Under Armour (NYSE:UA) and Kate Spade on the lists. These chains traditionally generated most of their sales from wholesale, catalogs and e-commerce, but are now using aggressive store expansion plans to both grow their overall business and showcase their brands.

The rest of the report shows comparisons for all three metrics across the 16 sectors, and also breaks down each company into its component segments/brands.

Source: RetailSails' 2011 Chain Store Productivity Report