Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is giving some retail workers raises of as much as 25 percent following a review of store operations earlier in the year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple employees at stores across the U.S. have been notified about the coming pay increases, according to workers who asked not be named for fear of losing their jobs. The raises are based on performance reviews and should take effect next month, one person said.

[Apple operates two retail stores in the Research Triangle Park, N.C. area at malls in Raleigh (Crabtree) and Durham (Southpoint).]

The increase is one of the first major initiatives by new Apple retail chief John Browett, who took over earlier this year for Ron Johnson, now the chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co. Apple has about 36,000 retail employees at more than 350 stores worldwide, about two-thirds of which are in the U.S.

Some workers have complained that hourly wages aren’t enough to comfortably live in the metropolitan areas where many stores are located, said Cory Moll, an Apple employee in San Francisco.

“People have definitely listed it as a top issue,” said Moll, who started the Apple Retail Workers Union in an attempt to unionize U.S. store workers. “Because of our low wages we often can’t afford to buy the technology that we sell.”

Moll, who has worked at Apple since October 2007, said he’s getting a 19 percent raise, to $17.31 an hour. Apple is also instituting employee discounts, he said. Workers will receive either $500 off a new Mac computer or $250 off an iPad, he said.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.

Browett Video

Browett, the senior vice president of Apple’s retail stores, sent a video message to employees about a month ago saying that performance reviews would be accelerated, one person said. Browett, who was previously CEO of Dixons Retail Plc in the U.K., was hired in January after Johnson departed.

Typically, performance reviews are done in July or August and any resulting raises take effect in September or October, one person said. This year, evaluations were done earlier.

Apple’s retail stores generated $4.4 billion in revenue last quarter, up 38 percent from the same period a year earlier.