Makro is pulling out of Group Trading Alliance, the multi-billion pound buying group it set up with Spar UK and Landmark. The 27-depot cash and carry group will cease to be a member of GTA at the end of the year. In a statement it said: "Following the buy-out of Makro by Metro, Makro UK felt it was no longer compatible with membership of a buying group and wished to align themselves more closely to their parent company." GTA's function is to extract overrider payments from suppliers on the basis of group sales, but its new chairman Peter Blakemore was confident the loss of Makro's turnover would not harm GTA. Spar chairman Blakemore, who has taken over from Makro managing director Ian Hamilton as GTA chairman, commented: "Without Makro GTA members' total turnover will still be in excess of £5bn." Spar's annual retail turnover is £2.3bn and Landmark and its associate members' sales at wholesale value totals £3.1bn. He added: "While we are disappointed by Makro's decision we are confident of replacing the lost revenue." GTA managing director Adrian Busby told The Grocer he was in negotiations with potential new members who would more than replace the reduction caused by Makro's departure. However he refused to comment on speculation linking Booker to GTA, or on when the talks might be concluded. Last month Bill Grimsey, chief executive of Booker's parent company Iceland, said in his annual statement that Booker was exploring the opportunities created by buying groups. Busby said: "Buying groups are the way ahead for the independent sector. They are the only way they can match the buying power of the multiples." {{NEWS }}