Jan 5 Reuters British shares gained on Tuesday, led by a jump in retail stocks following record grocery sales in December, overshadowing risks arising from a fresh national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of a new COVID19 variant.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus was spreading at great speed and immediate action was needed to slow it down.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.4, with general retailers and energy stocks gaining between 2 and 3.
December was the busiest month ever for British supermarkets as tightening COVID19 restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars and cafés meant shoppers spent 11.7 billion pounds 15.9 billion on groceries, industry data showed.
UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunaks plans to offer further help to businesses struggling under the renewed COVID19 restrictions also aided sentiment.
The midcap index was up 0.1.
Morrisons, Britains fourthlargest supermarket group, gained 0.2 after reporting a rise in underlying sales in its latest trading period encompassing Christmas.
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V