Summer is here, and with it comes the six-week holidays. While many parents are concerned with how to keep their kids entertained without school, retailers need to be considering how to prepare for that back-to-school season. If your store is within close proximity to a school you will well know that keeping mums and dads on the school run happy is key to better sales, writes Louise McWhirter.

So how can we make parents’ lives easier during those mad pre- and post-school rushes? The basics are key. Making sure that restocking and admin tasks are taken care of outside of school drop-off and pick-up times is essential, to allow shelves to be stocked and staff to be on hand to answer questions or serve at the tills. Meanwhile, clutter has to be avoided. Dump bins placed to interrupt the shopper’s flow down your aisles can cause more irritation than inspiration for those with young children and pushchairs.

When it comes to ‘right store, right range’, retailers with stores near to a school should be considering what items are most likely picked up for an after-school treat or found in the typical lunch box. One-third of children take a packed lunch to school every day. While the majority of parents say they source most of their packed lunch ingredients from supermarkets, there is a wealth of opportunity for small store retailers to be providing solutions from the top-up shop.

As many as seven out of 10 of parents with school-age children say that they make a conscious decision to ensure their children eat healthily at school lunch time. Three in four of children’s lunch boxes contain fruit, compared with just 17% which have chocolate included. While the priority of ensuring children enjoy a healthy diet away from home has been present arguably since Jamie’s School Dinners campaign back in 2005, the subject of health is ever-evolving. Ensuring you are catering to these changing demands is paramount. Retailers should be keeping up to date with relevant categories in growth at a national level and also speaking to local shoppers about their needs.

Adhering to these measures should play well in keeping mums and dads on the school run happy and helping ensure you are unlocking more sales.