Retailers rue lost emigrants
Sagging consumer demand has been a disappointment to retailers for several years now.
Retail sales are more or less stagnant, while economists keep reducing the forecasts as the consumer's animal spirits resemble a hedgehog scrunched up into a ball.
There are many reasons for the doleful decline in retail sales.
High unemployment, a move to the internet, fear stoked by irresponsible government ministers and a psychological shift that has left people wary of materialism all help to explain falling sales.
But last week's emigration figures offer the single biggest explanation for the decline.
When more than 300,000 people leave a country in just four years, a sharp collapse in spending is inevitable. And the CSO figures are probably on the conservative side.
It is very difficult to track a Pole returning home or a Latvian moving to London.
The staggering numbers leaving mean retailers should prepare for more of the same.