To keep you ahead of the curve during earnings season, The Motley Fool's retail sector offers you a preview of which companies are reporting in the upcoming week. In the process, we'll let you know what happened last quarter so that you'll know have an idea of what to expect from this quarter.

I know it's getting to the end of January, but things are starting to heat up. That's because earnings season is starting to kick off in full force. Here's what we'll see during the week of Jan. 22-26.

Last quarter, Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) decided to conduct a Dutch auction to buy back shares right before reporting a pretty decent quarter. But while margins improved and some shareholders may have sold too soon, Rick Munarriz questioned whether things were as good as they seemed, given the softness in traffic. Will more feet move through the doors this quarter? We'll let you know.

Sticking with the restaurants, we'll prepare you for a battle of the burger joints next week that takes on David-and-Goliath proportions, as quick-serve burger giant McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and casual-dining burger dwarf Steak n Shake (NYSE:SNS) report their earnings. It's going to be tough for the little guy to outperform the big man -- we already have a preview into McDonald's strong performance. But I'll still pull for the little guy, despite its recent weak performance, and take my daughter out for a "double" and a peanut butter milkshake.

With all of the lower-priced competition from overseas suppliers, the furniture business is a tough place to be in these days. Nonetheless, we still need to keep an eye on the performance of the companies in this sector. Ethan Allen (NYSE:ETH) unfortunately missed analyst estimates last quarter and warned of continued softness. We'll see whether that call was on the mark or whether a surprise is in order.

1-800-Flowers (NASDAQ:FLWS) will also deliver its quarterly results. Tim Beyers recommended we always smell the roses each time you read a press report, especially when records are being set. So will 1-800-Flowers' report carry a sweet aroma this quarter? Come back next week and sniff for yourself.

Last but not least, we'll hear from fashionistas Charlotte Russe (NASDAQ:CHIC) and bebe (NASDAQ:BEBE). While Charlotte Russe has been on the fast track lately, bebe has seen its share of ups and downs. And next week, we'll let you know whether these companies are causing flashbulbs to pop on the red carpet or are sweeping up the broken mirror.

In case you stayed under the covers to survive the cold and weren't able to keep up with our retail news from this week, we've summarized the best for you. And that's just a small way for us to say thanks for being a devoted reader.

Fool on!

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Retail editor and Inside Value team member David Meier is ranked 597 out of more than 20,000 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.