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Nasons staff brand £250 leaving do donation from boss 'final insult' after Canterbury store's closure

By Gerry Warren

A £250 donation by the boss of Nasons towards a leaving do for its 54 redundant staff has been branded a "final insult".

The gesture by Andrew Nason - amounting to £4.63 per employee - was considered the last straw by embittered workers, many of whom left store in tears on Saturday as the shutters came down on the city institution.

One even stuck a bitterly-worded poem called 'Invincible' in the shop window which spoke of loyal staff being "thrown roughly under the bus".

Nasons is now empty
Nasons is now empty

The poster thanked supporters, adding: "So many years we have given our all but now we are forced to suffer and fall."

Simon Figg, who worked in the fashion department for almost two years, says the poem reflected many of the staff's emotions.

"The general feeling is that £250 is a final insult to the many long-serving employees," he said.

"It's not even a fiver each and would barely stretch to a drink each these days. It's a slap in the face.

Nasons has now closed down
Nasons has now closed down
The huge footprint of the Nasons site in the city centre
The huge footprint of the Nasons site in the city centre
Former Nasons employee Simon Figg
Former Nasons employee Simon Figg

"I was only at Nasons for less than two years but quickly had a real sense of what a special and happy place it was to work.

"Everyone is feeling very bad about how suddenly it has all happened and their jobs were lost.

"It's been very emotional because it has been a way of life for many of them."

Another part-time worker, who did not want to be named, said: "It's the staff that make a place and they have been very loyal, with some of them working for Nasons for up to 30 years.

"But there doesn't seem to have been any empathy for those who have lost their jobs and the attitude has been 'that's life - just get on with it'."

The empty Nasons shop floor
The empty Nasons shop floor

Bosses have blamed "brutal" trading conditions for Nasons demise after almost 90 years trading.

But Mr Figg claims staff were being told the High Street store was performing quite well and it was the Wincheap furniture branch which was making losses.

"We thought that store might close and the High Street store would be OK," he said.

Staff are now having to go through a government redundancy process to claim compensation packages.

JobCentre representatives were at the store on Monday and Tuesday to give advice on possible future employment.

There is now speculation the site - owned by the Nasons family trust - will be sold for redevelopment.

Mr Nason has not replied to our request for a response to the criticism and speculation about the future of the site.

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