A multi-fire endoscopic stapler is disclosed. The stapler has a retractable cartridge where the cartridge is retractable from a staple-forming position in which the distal-most staple in the cartridge is aligned with a driver blade on a staple driver for forming the staple against an anvil. An elongated shaft communicates with the anvil and driver, and means exist for forming the staple from the proximal end of the shaft, and for sequentially advancing each staple in the cartridge to the distal end of the cartridge. The retractable nature of the cartridge creates the ability to provide the stapler with a flat, low-profile, by eliminating the conventional stacked configuration of the anvil, driver, and staple cartridge. The stapler may be inserted through a small diameter opening frequently found during minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedures, and then manipulated to sequentially form numerous staples against the anvil, one staple at a time, until the desired number of staples are fired.