Since keeping you informed is one of our goals at The Motley Fool, here's a recap of what happened during the week of Jan. 2-5 in the retail sector, as reported by our best and brightest.

The Fool took Monday off after celebrating the night before. Happy New Year, everyone! We're looking forward to another great year of providing you with top-notch content on companies, investment opportunities, personal finance, and everything else that will help you and your financial health.

To honor the memory of President Ford, the market was closed on Tuesday. But we at the Fool still published a few articles that day, including one on the huge growth of gift cards, not only as holiday gifts but also as an ever-growing part of a successful retail operation. Check that link to learn about the staggering sums of money being thrown around on those chunks of plastic.

Given all the talk about a slowdown in home sales and the impending doom that the financial press has constructed for the home-improvement sector, Ryan Fuhrmann took a look backward to compare how the big boys, Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) and Home Depot (NYSE:HD), fared last quarter. Who won the Foolish Face-Off? You'll have to click to find out.

I got inspired to express my opinion about supermarket operator Safeway (NYSE:SWY) after reading an article in Barron's. Things have been going well for the company lately, and its stock price has been on a tear. But as I looked over its performance, I couldn't help being reminded of the red queen effect and what that could mean for its future.

Alyce Lomax has been following Applebee's (NASDAQ:APPB) for the last few months and questioned whether the concept might be rotten. It's tough to be a mature restaurant chain with an activist shareholder making waves and Wall Street turning sour on you.

The big news on Wednesday was the resignation of everyone's favorite punching bag, Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli. I have to say I was a little surprised he threw in the towel. But more importantly, Rich Duprey shared his thoughts on Nardelli's resignation.

With December sales releases hitting the news wires on Thursday like coffee addicts at a Starbucks opening, there's plenty to review. Here are the three I found most interesting.

GameStop (NYSE:GME), not surprisingly, won the hearts and pried open the wallets of gamers everywhere, turning the release of the Wii and the PS3 into a seriously awesome performance.

Last month, Matthew Crews wondered whether clothing retailer Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) was a buy. This month, he answered his own question.

Finally, with winter supposedly approaching (living in South Carolina, I don't really know much about winter anymore), Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) tore down the slopes and shredded up the sidewalks with some incredible December sales numbers.

Whoa! That's today. Better check out the site to see what's going on.

So that's the week that was in retail. Tune in next week to see what Foolishness our best analysts will have in store for you then, and don't forget to check out our preview for the week ahead.

GameStop and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Home Depot is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, and Zumiez is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Check out any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

Retail editor and Inside Value team member David Meier is ranked 420 out of 19,280 participants in Motley Fool CAPS and does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. You can view his TMF profile here. The Fool takes its disclosure policy very seriously.