Sears expands marketplace options, Tailored Brands' in-store employees help out online and Destination Maternity grows online.

Kroger Co.’s overall comparable sales, excluding fuel, grew 1.6% year-over-year rise to $27.9 billion for the second quarter ending Aug. 18. However, there was a glimmer of good news for the supermarket chain: its online sales rose more than 50% (the retailer didn’t break out exact figures). And it now offers digital sales to 80% of its customer base, up from 75% in the first quarter of the year.

The grocery retailer, No. 86 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, also has expanded home delivery with Kroger Ship and curbside pickup options, while also inking deals with meal-kit maker Home Chef and U.K. online grocer Ocado.

Kroger’s new digital headquarters in Cincinnati currently employs a team of 600, but Kroger announced that the team will grow to 1,000 by 2020.

The idea is to bolster its defenses against Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) and other rivals. Kroger’s investments have weighed on profitability, and its gross margins have continued to contract.

In other e-commerce earnings news:

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  • Tailored Brands (No. 109), owner of Men’s Warehouse, Jos. A. Bank and other apparel retail brands, is expanding its online concierge service. The company’s LIVE! program connects online shoppers with in-store consultants who can use smartphones to show off inventory in their store and answer questions. The program results in higher conversions and average ticket values, according to CEO Doug Ewert in an earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha. Tailored Brands didn’t break out specific e-commerce figures overall.

  • Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 24) expanded its online marketplace, adding brands such as Oreck and Dockers from third-party sellers. It’s also adding more smaller-format stores that it says better serve online shoppers with options to buy online and pickup in store. Meanwhile, it’s closing 150 larger locations this year. Sears didn’t break out any e-commerce numbers.

  • Destination Maternity Corp. (No. 557) reported an 18.4% increase in e-commerce sales year over year for the second quarter. Exact dollar figures weren’t disclosed, but the apparel retailer has reported 11 consecutive quarters of online sales growth, with 75% growth over the past three years, according to CEO Marla Ryan in an earnings call transcript from Seeking Alpha. The retailer is rolling out support for Apple Pay and Venmo during the next quarter and will offer same-day delivery starting in Manhattan as it looks for ways to cut delivery times for all purchases.

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