High street stalwarts Marks & Spencer and Dixons Retail were among the biggest risers, while the wider market benefited from upbeat data on the US economy and robust car sales in the UK.
The FTSE-100 Index added 57.7 points to 6532.4 after figures showing the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits are near a five-year low, and was also lifted by 18th successive month of rising car sales.
In London, the Bank of England's latest monetary policy committee meeting delivered the expected no change in both interest rates and quantitative easing.
The strong US jobs data nudged the pound down against the dollar to 1.56, but sterling made strong gains on the euro to 1.19.
Banks populated the blue-chip risers board as Lloyds Banking Group cheered 2.1p to 74.8p, HSBC advanced 16.1p to 707.6p, Royal Bank of Scotland added 7.2p to 335.8p and Barclays rose 6.5p to 296p.
Marks & Spencer was among the steepest climbers after broker HSBC upgraded its target price to 550p and said the retailer was well placed to benefit from the recent improvement in economic conditions. M&S shares rose 16.2p to 494.9p and are at their highest level since 2008.
Meanwhile, Dixons Retail Group was among the biggest risers in the FTSE 250 Index as its latest trading update offered more cheer for investors.
The PC World and Currys owner revealed deals to offload its troubled French business PIXmania and its ElectroWorld arm in Turkey. As both businesses are loss-making Dixon's shares surged 5.9% or 2.6p to 46.9p.
Superdry fashion firm SuperGroup followed close behind on the second tier risers board, up 68p to 1227p after posting an 8.5% hike in like-for-like first quarter sales, while total revenues jumped 25.7%.
It has now delivered seven quarters in a row of underlying sales growth.
Other retail stocks on the front foot included Argos owner Home Retail Group - up 7.3p to 152.5p - and Halfords with a gain of 14.7p to 381p.
Transport group Go-Ahead rose 34p to 1509p after it highlighted more strong trading in its bus division, with profits up 11% to £78.2 million in the year to June 29. Overall profits were down 8% because of ongoing issues in its rail division, although at £86.2 million this was slightly better than expected.
Other big risers on the FTSE-100 were Persimmon 41p higher to 1152p and ITV 5.2p ahead to 174.6p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Tate & Lyle down 13p to 799.5p, Croda International 33p weaker to 2607p, GlaxoSmithKline down 13.5p to 1652.5p and British Sky Broadcasting 6.5p lower to 851.5p.