LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

The battle for bucks is as big as ever in the retail industry.

"I think everybody is competing for the customer and making sure they get the great deals. Christmas is an important time for all retailers, so we make sure we have the best value for their customers," said Peter Thell, general manager of Best Buy in Onalaska.

A late Thanksgiving holiday has given people six less days to buy this holiday shopping season and pushed retailers to be creative to get customers in their doors.

"You're seeing 60-percent off, 70-percent off, buy one get one, something like that. It's a great time of year to shop," said Laurie Cafe, marketing director for Valley View Mall in Onalaska.

Stores have flooded email inboxes with savings, sales and coupons.

"I feel like they're sending them more daily, like twice a day or something," said last-minute shopper Kelsey Trumm.

Dan Wettstein, the owner of Wettstein's in La Crosse, says it's a matter of planting a seed in the buyer's mind. "A retailer has to be top-of-mind awareness. In order to get that out you shout the word sale. You shout the word event. You shout the word free something."

It seems to be working. The National Retail Federation is expecting retail sales to jump by nearly four-percent this year, an increase that Valley View Mall has noticed.

"It does look like we are up slightly from last year just based on the crowds, how busy the mall is and how many bags people have," said Cafe.

Reduced prices mean smaller margins for retailers, but Wettstein says it's the price they have to pay to win the clash for the consumer.

"It's not going to end. Sale, coupons, free. Those are all things that ring true in a consumer's mind," Wettstein said.

The holiday shopping season is not over for most retailers. The day after Christmas is normally the busiest day of the year for returns. Many stores are offering extended hours to accommodate the crowds.