The Wholesale Confectionery and Tobacco Alliance (WCTA) is to wind up operations from March 31, 2006.

Chief executive John Bowden blamed “enormous change” in the wholesale trade and a lack of demand for the alliance’s services for the decision.

Founded by wholesalers to negotiate terms, the WCTA’s role became diluted with the advent of buying groups.

Members, who include Sugro and Key Lekkerland, are already using other groups for buying terms and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors for political lobbying.