Supermarkets were behind two-thirds of retail construction in 2010, according to analysts Glenigan.

Led by Sainsbury's and Tesco, the multiples accounted for 66% of projects in 2010, up from 58% in 2009 and 35% in 2008. The surge has led the retail construction industry back to growth of 38% to £1.6bn.

"Supermarkets are dominating the market," said Glenigan economics director Allan Wilen. "They have been the main engine for growth in the retail sector for a couple of years.

"And I can see the trend going on in the short to medium term. They will continue to take things forward as there are still plenty of projects in the pipeline."

He cited Asda's plans for expansion with the conversion of its newly acquired Netto stores. "It will increase its market share as a result," he said. "And Waitrose is taking forward its expansion plans with a number of schemes in development."

The report highlighted the pressure supermarkets were putting on struggling non-food retailers.

"A lot of other retail projects haven't been coming forward," said Wilen. "It will be a while before we see any big shopping centres get under way. Just one is scheduled to take place in the next year."