Don't know about you but it doesn't half feel like it's been a long, cold and bleak March.

So let's spare a thought for those in the retail sector who, metaphorically speaking, have endured a sleety chill.

Just how well insulated they have been will be highlighted this week when a clutch of famous high street names come to the market with figures for 2005.

Better-than-expected Christmas trading and the acquisitions of Beatties and Jenners should ensure House of Fraser posts satisfactory results on Friday.

The chain is forecast by Seymour Pierce stockbrokers to announce profits of £27.2 million, compared with £22.6 million a year earlier.

But it was far from plain sailing as House of Fraser needed a 7.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over Christmas to offset extremely challenging trading conditions in the first part of the financial year.

On Friday, House of Fraser gave investors a flavour of current conditions when it said takeover talks - thought to involve private equity group Apax - had collapsed.

It said like-for-like sales were 1.4 per cent lower - better than many had been expecting - and confirmed its earlier fears for a tough 2006 with a particularly hard first half and additional cost pressures throughout the year.

The precarious state of the DIY sector will be laid bare when Kingfisher announces full-year results - expected to show a sharp decline in profits f rom £663.6 million to £440 million, according to Credit Suisse.

B&Q is dependent on the housing market so analysts expect any upturn to be delayed until the second half of the year at the earliest.

Next thrilled the City in January with news that total sales were up almost ten per cent in the build up to Christmas.

It prompted the group to promise profits of between £435 million and £450 million for the year to January 31 - b etter than both the £420 million previously fore-cast by analysts and ahead of l ast year's figure of £423 million.

But recent figures from the British Retail Consortium have shown that the high street as a whole suffered its worst January for a decade, so there will be much attention on Next's final results on Thursday.

The performance of shares in Morrisons has started to reflect hopes in the City that its recovery may be taking shape after a string of profits warnings following the takeover of Safeway.

The grocer posted the first loss in its 106-year history in October as it faced up to costs of the conversion process.

Despite its difficulties last year, Morrisons maintained that its performance would improve now that the integration was complete.

Kesa Electricals surprised the City with news that it had rejected a £1.72 billion takeover approach from a private equity consortium.

That will provoke heightened interest in Kesa when it delivers its annual results.

One wonders whether Gordon Brown may have a cheering message on Wednesday. Whatever happens, cheer up, folks, Spring must surely be on the way...