Apple is America's best retailer according to Fortune Magazine.

A retrospective report looks at the birth of the Apple retail store chain, beginning with a negative prognosis for the fortunes of the firm on the high street from Business Week, which said the stores would never work.

Now, of course, Apple has become the fastest-growing retailer in the US.

"People haven't been willing to invest this much time and money or engineering in a store before," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Fortune. "It's not important if the customer knows that. They just feel it. They feel something's a little different."

The report goes on to explore the decisions that helped build the stores, such as Apple's secretive building of mock-ups of the shops in a secret warehouse near Cupertino.

Jobs explains the development of the store idea, from the appointment of Gap CEO Mickey Drexler to Apple's board to the hiring of current retail chief, Ron Johnson.