Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) turned the retail industry on its head when it opened the first of its impressively successful retails stores in 2001.

Source: Apple

Apple has since grown its retail presence to encompass a global network of stores numbering well above 400 today. These outposts not only serve as key sales drivers for Apple, but also as showrooms for the Apple brand as a whole. Apple generated roughly 30%3 of its overall sales last year from direct distribution channels.

Reviving retail
Despite all superlatives surrounding Apple's retail prowess, its sales from this key segment have in some ways stagnated over the last several years. In its recently concluded fiscal year, Apple retails sales only grew 7%, trailing the 9% increase in Apple's overall sales.

Part of this is to be expected. For starters, finding new third-party distribution partners typically proves simpler than finding and developing the marquee locations Apple so prizes for its retail stores.

Either way, Apple management has recently initiated a series of both small and large moves aimed at reinvigorating its retail momentum. In this video, tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner discusses some of Apple's recent moves and how they fit within this broader storyline for Apple.

A better growth play than Apple
This incredible tech stock is growing twice as fast as Google and Facebook, and more than three times as fast as Amazon.com and Apple. Watch our jaw-dropping investor alert video today to find out why The Motley Fool's chief technology officer is putting $117,238 of his own money on the table, and why he's so confident this will be a huge winner in 2013 and beyond. Just click here to watch!

Fool contributor Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. Follow Andrew and all his writing on Twitter at @AndrewTonner.
The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.