West Coast retail transactions made a huge leap last year from 2010, and they are expected to make another jump this year. About $2 billion in deals took place on transactions valued $10 million or less last year — a 40% increase — and this year’s deals should rise another 30%.

We got that information from Bill Rose, national director of Marcus & Millichap‘s National Retail Group, who is on the planning committee of this year’s show, which is in San Diego 19-21. (Marcus & Millichap will be doing deals this year in the San Diego Convention Center’s Oahu Suite.)

Rose told us he expects a busy convention (ICSC says 3,000 are attending this year) and predicts that the scene will be similar to last month’s big ICSC event in Florida where it was busy right up until the end of the show, as opposed to other events that get a little sparse when things wind down. “I suspect we’re going to have a good deal flow on Friday morning,” he said.

The big names in West Coast expansion that Rose cited were Whole Foods, and of course, Dollar General, the deep-discounter that seems to be popping up everywhere nowadays. “We’re going to see a continuation of necessity based retail until the economy hits on all 12 cylinders,” Rose observed.

Concerns he sees on the horizon? Investors are still sitting on the sidelines until the outcome of the election, and there is $2 trillion of legacy debt due by 2017.

But Rose remains upbeat about the conference this month. “Clearly the goal is that we maintain this positive vibe in the industry and maintain momentum.”