Sweat! goes bust – Debenhams-linked budget fitness chain shuts its doors
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Sweat! goes bust – Debenhams-linked budget fitness chain shuts its doors

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Female-friendly fitness operator Sweat! has closed its doors, just nine months after it revealed ambitious plans to roll out a network of in-store gyms at Debenhams retail stores.

Sweat! – which operated six locations – made a proposal to enter a creditors’ voluntary arrangement (CVA) earlier this month, but the move was rejected.

That led the company to begin the process of entering voluntary liquidation instead.

Sweat! was launched by Virgin Active co-founder Frank Reed in 2013 and had secured backing from investment manager Puma Investments.

The Sweat! format was focused on attracting a predominately 18-33 year-old female membership base.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Puma said: "As reported in the most recent interim results, Sweat Union Limited, 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 arrangement, its directors 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 will reduce the company's net asset value by approximately 11p per share."

Sweat! had agreed a potentially lucrative partnership deal with Debenhams and opened the first in-store gym in Sutton in August 2018.

The deal, a part of the struggling retailer’s strategy to attract more customers and a younger female base to its department stores, was designed to offer a "friendly, group-oriented and performance driven gym experience".

The initiative was meant to be one of the cornerstones of Debenham's strategy to deliver ‘social shopping’ within its stores.

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Female-friendly fitness operator Sweat! has closed its doors, just nine months after it revealed ambitious plans to roll out a network of in-store gyms at Debenhams retail stores.
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