What are the fastest-growing retail markets around? New York? Houston? Phoenix? Surprise -- none of them even makes the top 10. The hottest retail market these days is Hartford, the bustling insurance center. Hartford has plenty of fierce competition in its own backyard: New Haven and Fairfield County, Conn., occupy top slots, probably benefiting from the exodus of executives and big companies leaving the Big Apple.

From the looks of sales figures compiled by Adweek magazine, the aisles in many cities are jammed with engineers. High-tech centers -- Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., and a few cities in North Carolina -- were among those that have posted impressive retail sales gains. Not so for the Sunbelt, where it seems to be hotter outside than it is indoors. Nonetheless, here are the top 10:

1982-'83 1983

Geographic increase in retail sales

area retail sales ($000)

1. Hartford 22.2% $6,351

2. New Haven 21.5 4,290

3. Fairfield 21.2 5,578

County, Conn.

4. Providence 20.2 4,500

5. Raleigh 19.6 3,185

Durham, N.C.

6. San Jose, 17.8 9,469

Calif.

7. Greensboro 16.7 4,818

Winston-Salem,

N.C.

8. San Francisco 14.9 10,721

9. Boston 14.8 22,191

10. Bergen County, 14.6 8,478

N.J.

CORRECTION-DATE: June, 1985

CORRECTION:

A chart that listed growth in retail sales in our April issue (News & Trends, page 18) had an incorrect heading for 1983 dollar volume. It should have read: ($million).