A postcode can say a lot about you, as Tracy West finds out

If you read the Radio Times, have timeshare holidays and eat at Pizza Express, then you probably live in a well-off area. Conversely, if you go camping, read the TV Times and have a KFC on your doorstep then you're probably residing in a poorer area.
These are just two of the findings from the 10th annual Wealth of the Nation survey by CACI Information Solutions. The findings are based on PayCheck, a system that provides estimates of household income by postcode. To get this it profiles all 1.7 million postcodes in the country and uses information from CACI's lifestyle database plus statistics from the Census and other research.
The survey found the highest average household incomes (£59,000) in Horton, near Epsom, Surrey, and Grange Park, Northampton, while the lowest (£16,000) were found in Darnall, Sheffield, and Everton, Liverpool.
The results show evidence of the North/South divide, with the South East containing the postcodes with the highest income levels and industrial towns and cities like Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle dominating the other extreme. Only seven regions ranked in the top 100 richest areas were north of Birmingham; only local neighbourhoods in Portsmouth and Southampton appeared in the top 200 poorest areas.
However, there are much bigger local divides. In Liverpool, some people in the wealthiest areas earn three times as much as in the poorest areas. And income disparities in Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Cardiff are all greater than the North/South divide itself.
The survey also reiterated certain stereotypes between the rich and the poor. When it comes to pastimes, for instance, those people in the wealthiest areas join sailing clubs, play bridge, do yoga and go skiing, while those in less well-off areas go fishing, play bingo, and watch wrestling and ice hockey.
However, when it comes to how these household incomes affect spending in c-stores, there are a few surprises. You might run a c-store in the wealthiest area of the country, but unfortunately that probably means locals drive right past you to go to Waitrose or M&S, whereas in the poorest areas where residents are living hand to mouth, c-store retailers see their customers every day.
Jay Samani runs a store in Darnall, Sheffield, the survey's poorest area in the country. He has been there for 14 years and as far as Jay's concerned, the locals have money to spend: "The Meadowhall Shopping Centre is two miles up the road and my customers are always up there, spending. Plus my trade is good. I stock the Best-in and Happy Shopper own labels, but most of my sales are of brands."
Elsewhere in the town is Mohammed Ayuv, who runs the Darnall Continental Grocers. He is originally from Pakistan, but has been in the UK for years. He says he's doing okay. "Business is fine. After all, I run a food shop and people can't live without food. Nobody's working around here but they get their benefits; they're struggling, but okay. Put it this way - it's not like Pakistan where people are really poor."

A loyal bunch
Aslam Mir also operates in a working class area, running the Premier store in the Fenham area of Newcastle. He says residents are split - half on unemployment benefit and half working.
"They've got money to spend here, it's just that they spend it too quickly. I'm not complaining, though, as I've regular customers who come in every day. We carry the Happy Shopper range so customers have a choice - they can choose Heinz or Happy Shopper beans - it's up to them how much they want to pay."
The only cloud on Aslam's horizon is Tesco. "We have a Tesco Express a few minutes away and I can cope with that, but there's now talk of the local hospital being closed and a massive Tesco and flats being built in its place. If that happens it will be the end of us. We're on a main road with a butchers, bakers, florists and greengrocers, but if Tesco comes they'd all go."
One retailer in the west end of Newcastle, who did not want to be named, says he's lucky because he has no competition. However, he does have to contend with a clientele who are all unemployed and don't have a lot of money to spend.
Jav Nawaz of Pakistan General Stores in Granby Street, Liverpool, blames the council for letting the area he's in get run-down. "People don't have a lot of money around here. They come to us every day to buy what they need - fruit, veg and meat. We're a local community and the locals are doing what they have to just to get by."
At the other end of the income scale, there's Wokingham, Berkshire, which featured twice in the top 10 richest areas. Brenda Gregory, who manages Rusts in Finchampstead Road, agrees the store's in a very affluent area with big houses, but says many locals do their main food shopping in Waitrose and M&S. "We do okay but we don't get people buying Champagne every day. We probably sell about six packets of smoked salmon a week. The locals use us as a top-up shop and we get lots of passing trade," she says.
Kanapathippillai Barathan (known as Barathan) has a Spar store in Fleet, Hampshire - which was the fifth richest area in the survey. He agrees with Brenda: "People do have money around here, but they don't spend it with us. They come in occasionally but mostly go to the supermarkets. About 75% of the locals are elderly, living in bungalows. Younger people spend more money with us - typically after 5pm when they come in for alcohol, cigarettes, milk and frozen food."
Although Mian Sarwar has only just taken over running the One Stop in Barnes, south-west London, he can already tell that the locals have money to spend.
He says: "We do well on fresh produce - particularly apples and bananas, but they have to be organic. We also sell a lot of off licence lines even though we have a Threshers right next door. We regularly sell £10 bottles of wine and we sell Champagne for special occasions."

Top 10 richest areas - average household income


KT19 Horton, near Epsom, Surrey - £59,000
NN4 Grange Park, Northampton - £59,000
RG42 Winkfield, near Ascot, Berkshire - £57,000
RG40 Wokingham, Berkshire - £56,000
GU51 Fleet, Hampshire - £55,000
E1W 2 Wapping, London - £55,000
SW13 Barnes, London - £55,000
RM16 Chafford Hundred, Thurrock, Essex - £55,000
RG41 Wokingham, Berkshire - £54,000
E1W1 Wapping, London - £54,000

Top 10 poorest areas - average household income


S9 Darnall, Sheffield - £16,000
L5 Everton, Liverpool - £16,000
HU2 Newland, Hull - £17,000
TS1 Middlesbrough - £17,000
L28 Stockbridge, Knowsley, Merseyside - £17,000
L11 Croxteth, Liverpool - £17,000
NE4 Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne - £18,000
DN1 Blaby Bridge, Doncaster - £18,000
L8 Toxteth, Liverpool - £18,000
L24 Speke, Liverpool - £18,000

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