Womenswear retailer Phase Eight delivered a 9.4% pre-tax profit increase to £17.8m for the year to January 28.

But growth has slowed at the retailer compared to the previous year when pre-tax profit soared 42.2%.

Phase Eight described the economic environment of the last year as “challenging”.

Turnover for the year jumped 16.7% to £108.4m.

The fashion retailer, which was acquired by Poppy Bidco in February 2011, focused on bolstering its buying and merchandising and head office teams in the year. It said it had seen improvements in ranges, sourcing and sell-through rates.

In documents filed at Companies House, Phase Eight said the sales increase was due to “positive” customer responses to its Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections.

Distribution and selling costs were kept tight. The retailer opened 11 stores and 36 concessions during the year, bringing the number of outlets to 282.

Phase Eight plans to open further stores and concessions in the current financial year and opened its first store in Switzerland in April to “more fully address the needs of international customers”. In addition, it launched international online deliveries in May.