A fourth consecutive year of record sales and profits was reported yesterday by Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads Inc., a large national retail specialty and department store company.

Profits jumped 21 percent in the year ended Feb. 3 to $13.3 million ($2.92 a share) from $11 million ($2.55) in fiscal 1977, as sales increased 21 1/2 percent to$401 million.

Sales volume for the key fourth quarter -- including a traditional boost from the holiday season -- did not increase at the high rate of the full year, indicating a slight slowdown in growth late in the year and during January.

For the three months ended Feb. 3, the Garfinckel corporation posted sales of $136 million, up 16.6 percent from last year, while earnings rose 12 percent to $7.5 million ($1.64 a share) compared with $6.7 million ($1.56).

"The results for 1978 were more than satisfactory, with the first half of the year being exceptionally strong," said Chairman David Waters.

He said that "particularly impressive" performances by Brooks Brothers, Miller's and Catherine's Stout Shoppe units were primary factors in the record performance. But the Harris & Friends specialty shops based here "had a negative impact on earnings," reflecting slower than expected gains after the outlets were given more of a fashion-oriented image in the past year.

"Because of general economic uncertainties, we are approaching 1979 with caution," Waters added, "to date, our inventory projections remain on plan. We are encouraged that several of our operating companies, hurt by the unusually severe snowstorms of February, have regained their momentum in early March."

During the coming six months, the Washington retail company plans to open three new Ann Taylor stores in Southern California, another suburban Brooks unit in the Atlanta area and five Catherine's stores.

Suvival Technology Inc., a Bethesda developer of medical devices, reported a sharp increase in sales and profits during the six months ended Jan. 31.

Earnings were $684,206 (28 cents a share) compared with $24,516 (1 cent) as sales increased to $5 million from $3.7 million. The recent earnings include a one-time tax credit of $273,000 (11 cents a share) related to previous losses.