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Lilly Pulitzer: Target’s collaboration prompts shopping frenzy; company apology

Posted at 11:57 AM, Apr 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-19 11:57:20-04

Floral pastel dresses and beach coverups flew off the racks at Target stores Sunday morning as eager shoppers snatched up pieces from the retailer’s limited edition Lilly Pulitzer collection.

The highly anticipated 250-item collection featured Lilly Pulitzer’s bold and bright designs at discounted prices. The Target version of Lilly Pulitzer’s signature sleeveless, collarless dress was available for $38, while Lilly Pulitzer dresses generally go for around $180 at other stores. Target’s Lilly Pulitzer bikinis are priced at $48 for the top and bottom, compared to $136 for the two pieces.

Lines started forming as early as 5 a.m. outside Target stores across the country for the colorful collection, which went on sale Sunday.

Pictures on social media showed lines extending into parking lots. Other images showed racks completely emptied of inventory within minutes of doors opening.

The situation was not much better for online shoppers, who started visiting the site at midnight to try to snag a piece from the 250-item collection. Many found the site was down; others complained of being unable to add items to their carts or that by the time they made it to checkout, the items were no longer unavailable

Target issued periodic updates and apologies on Twitter throughout Sunday morning.

The last update from Target, around 7 a.m. ET, thanked shoppers for their patience and said the site was up and running. By then, shoppers complained that nearly everything was sold out.

Target often teams up with high-end designers to create limited edition fashion lines. The collections, from designers such as Alexander McQueen, Prabal Gurung (a favorite of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge), and Jason Wu (who designed one of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gowns), tend to create lots of buzz and sell out within hours.