Local retailers are still unsure whether this will be a good shopping year or a bad one, like last year. Macerich Company, which runs FlatIron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, is openly skeptical. "It was a challenging holiday (last year), I think, as most other shopping centers saw, but we're optimistic this year," a senior marketing manager tells Boulder's Daily Camera . "We're hoping for flat sales, maybe a slight tick up." But what's a holiday without gifts? University of Colorado at Boulder marketing professor Donald Lichtenstein has a few tips. "Do your research because prices for the identical item can vary significantly," he tells 9News . And don't believe everything you read. For instance, stores that offer to match sale prices of other retailers may still be able to charge higher prices. Also consider using a means other than credit cards to pay for your spree. "The purchases you make now and in December could have a higher annual percentage rate in January," The Dallas Morning News  points out.