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.