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Gruskin Group - News - Integrated Design, Architecture + Design, Creative Services

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Gruskin Group Makes DDi's Design Leaders 2010 List

The year 2009 was a tough pill to swallow in the retail design firm world. With retail expansion at a near standstill and cutbacks proliferating throughout the industry, retail design firms have had to take stock of their client lists, expand their services and hang on to their profitability by the skin of their teeth.

But it hasn't all been bad news.

International work has seen an uptick, with Design Leaders firms reporting having done work in these top three non-U.S. destinations: Canada (36 percent), China (25 percent) and Mexico (24 percent). Half of the firms in this year's survey (50.5 percent) also reported having worked on at least one green project in 2009, proving that sustainable design is still very much in the forefront.

Some firms actually reported an increase to their retail billings in 2009 over 2008, including Big Red Rooster (up 3.6 percent in retail billings), Bergmann Associates Inc. (up 15 percent), Shikatani Lacroix Design (up 27.2 percent) and Highland Associates (up 37.9 percent). That's nothing to scoff at in these trying times.

In this year's annual Design Leaders survey, a total of 73 firms (18 of the 91 firms chose not to report billings) reported a collective total of approximately $505.5 million in retail design fee revenues in 2009. That equates to an average of $6.9 million per firm, a sizeable decrease from last year's $10 million per firm. This year's top 10 design firms (by 2009 retail billings) alone accounted for $332.3 million more than two-thirds of the revenue for the entire listing...

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