Sometimes the best things are the simplest. This is the Uniqlo store just around the corner from the Opéra in Paris and while this is a retailer normally best known for embracing hi-tech buildings, fabrics and visual merchandising, here it’s a matter of back to basics.

Last week was la rentrée – aka back to school – in the French capital and Uniqlo decided to mark the occasion by offering kids the chance to customise exercise books using ‘masking tape’. This is not masking tape as commonly known, but instead a Japanese variant on the norm where the tape is printed with repeating designs that can decorate anything it is applied to.

With this in mind, a circular fixture was installed at the front of the shop, filled with tape bearing different patterns, which could be purchased, and mothers (predominantly) and children could then take part in a masking tape workshop.

Practically, this meant a roped-off area in the middle of the ground floor was filled with young children busy doing what kids do when given sticky tape and paper.

While the educational value may be questionable, there is little doubting that as an event to mark the end of summer this was a good idea. The fact that it ran for just three days meant that take-up was strong and it was responsible for significantly extended dwell times among those venturing into the shop, which remains one of the most engaging in the area.

It is occasionally said that the best retailers are those that ‘give something back’ and on the evidence of the number of people in this store last week, this looks like a case in point.