Value fashion retailer M&Co’s sales rose last year but profits remained stubbornly flat against a “challenging” backdrop.

The retailer said operating profit was “maintained” at £6m and EBITDA was “broadly flat” at £10.8m.

Sales rose 5.4% in the year to February 2018 with in-store like-for-likes up 2.4% and online growth rising 18.3%.

It marks the fourth consecutive year of rising sales for the business, which is expanding its estate and investing in technology.

Chief executive Andy McGeoch said: “As we navigate the complexities of the current market and in light of recent announcements from UK retailers, it is hugely encouraging to see this growth.

“With store closures from some of the UK’s largest brands, local high streets become a more attractive opportunity as we continue to strategically invest in our store portfolio.

“Undoubtedly the high street environment remains challenging, with high business rates, cost inflation, heavy discounting, economic uncertainty and international currency fluctuations collectively putting pressure on margins.

“As a result, our commitment to both drive efficiencies and to enhance our customer experience has seen us significantly increase our IT investment to take advantage of new technologies.”

The retailer’s results come amid a high street bloodbath with bricks-and-mortar retailers such as House of Fraser, Homebase and Footasylum entering administration, implementing CVAs and issuing multiple profit warnings.