The weeks and months leading up to Christmas can become very expensive any year, but for those who put off gift shopping until the days before the holiday this year, one retail expert said, the financial hit might not be quite as much.

“This year, it’s a true advantage to shop now,” Emily Salsbury, with the U of A’s School of Retailing said.

Salsbury said retailers are fighting to get customers into their stores, and those customers can potentially come out on top with lower prices.

“As soon as you get more competition, the retailers are going to fight, and they’re going to fight price-wise,” Salsbury said, saying the fight has started earlier this year.

“You’ll see some pretty significant discounts…but really, is it getting people in the store?”

Some shoppers who spoke to CTV News Friday had already taken advantage of the sales, such as Sharon Riley, who was out shopping for a gift for her granddaughter.

“I went in to buy her a couple pairs of pajamas, and I ended up buying her about 6 outfits because the prices are so phenomenal I thought ‘I’m going to do it while I’m here’,” Riley said.

However, others weren’t so quick to spend their money.

“I had ideas already in mind, so if it’s on sale, it’s on sale, if it’s not, it’s not,” Jaieamen Hebert said.

Right now, the lower prices might work for many shoppers – but Salsbury pointed to December 26, a day for many shoppers to take advantage of sales in the wake of the Christmas buying frenzy.

“How much better can the sale get on Boxing Day?”

With files from Susan Amerongen