Jan 18 (Reuters) - Portugal's largest retailer Sonae says in a statement:
* Total retail sales rose 8.8 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to 1.45 billion euros ($1.55 billion).
* Food retail sales increase 6.6 percent to 1.0 billion euros.
* Specialized retail unit that encompasses electronics outlets Worten, sporting goods chain SportZone and others posted a 14.4 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales.
* Total sales last year rose 7.2 percent to 5.2 billion euros.
* "We have managed to increase 2016 sales by 5.6 percent and reinforce our leadership despite a fairly challenging market environment... These results are equally important for the coming quarters as they prove that we have the strategy and adequate resources to achieve our targets," Luis Moutinho, CEO of the food retail unit Sonae MC says in the statement.
* Sonae fourth-quarter results due on March 16.Source text for Eikon: here company coverage: ($1 = 0.9362 euros) (Reporting by Andrei Khalip)