LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - European shares rose sharply on Thursday, tracking gains in the United States and Asia, as retail stocks rallied and the minutes from the Fed's recent meeting reassured investors that it was not in a hurry to start raising rates.
Shares in Britain's biggest grocer Tesco surged 5 percent, the top gainer in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, after saying it planned to sell assets and cut hundreds of millions of pounds of costs to fund lower prices in store.
The market also got support from the Fed minutes. The central bank pressed ahead with its plans to begin raising interest rates later this year, but Fed officials said they could be "patient" in deciding when to begin the process.
The FTSEurofirst 300 share index was up 1.2 percent at 1,344.26 points after at 0815 GMT, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Retail index.
Standard Chartered also rose 2.1 percent. The bank is closing the bulk of its global equities business and axing 4,000 retail banking jobs to aggressively cut costs to reverse its fortunes, according to a memo seen by Reuters. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)