Customers and staff have been left shocked after a discount gym chain shut its doors as it prepares for liquidation – less than a year into opening a new Sutton branch.

Those who visited SWEAT! Gym in the St Nicholas Centre were met with a notice on the door saying it had been closed with “immediate effect” days after news broke.

Soon after its proposal to enter a creditors’ voluntary arrangement (CVA) was rejected on May 3, Sweat Union Limited began a process to enter voluntary liquidation instead.

Staff were told the following day they had all been made redundant, while all of the budget gym chain’s social media accounts have since disappeared.

It comes just eight months after the Sutton branch was opened in September, adding to the other ones which were located in Chelmsford, Sheffield and Walsall.

Former SWEAT! Gym manager Dan Keith said: “They called me on Thursday last week [May 2] in the evening and just said they were closing the doors tonight and won't be opening tomorrow.

“The staff were told to come in the next morning to meet, where we'd meet the liquidators, and they just made everyone redundant.

“There were six in total, two of the gyms closed about a month ago. We were told that was going to be it and we were all told together on the same day, all the other managers.”

But he's is trying to take over the gym itself under a new company name, and is currently in talks with Debenhams to finalise the move once Sweat Union’s liquidation is confirmed.

The 32-year-old previously ran YourZone45 in Colliers Wood and sold it on last year before being hired to run the new branch in Sutton.

He added: “It was a bit of a shock because the company was in the process of completing what is called a CVA, which is different from liquidation. It gives the company breathing room so they can pay off creditors gradually but still trade.

“As far as I'm aware that failed the day before we found out that they were going into liquidation, but the first we heard about it was on the Thursday.

“We were expecting to go into voluntary administration, and that everything would be fine and we'd still continue trading, so yeah it was a bit of a shock.”

Meanwhile, its investors Puma Investments have since released a statement following the news.

It reads: “As reported in the most recent interim results, Sweat Union Limited (“Sweat”), the budget gym operator in which we invested some £3.4m, was experiencing trading difficulties.

“We regret to have to report that, following the rejection of a proposed creditors’ voluntary agreement, its directors today have begun a process which may lead to Sweat entering creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

“The shareholders are not expected to make any recovery from this liquidation, which therefore reduce the company’s net asset value by approximately 11p per share.”