There is no word of customers exchanging fisticuffs, but the competition for the Palm Beach-a-go go Lilly Pulitzer collection was so fierce this weekend that Target stores dealt with Black Friday-like crowds and Target.com even became completely inaccessible at points.
The designs from the Queen of Prep, a Jackie O favorite who made a comeback in 2000 before selling her resort wear and beach chic brand, proved to be so popular that customers who left the stores empty-handed felt so bummed out that they went onto Twitter to carp about Target, USA Today notes.
Pulitzer, an iconoclast to the end, would no doubt have been tickled pink and green by the rush for her designs. The lifestyle brand even created exclusive prints for the limited time Target collection, ensuring that Lilly fans would want to shop the collection too.
In Washington, DC, about 100 people lined up outside the Target before it opened and it took 15 minutes for the collection to sell out, according to the Washington Post. That was nothing compared with places where hundreds got in line before opening and the actual shopping experience was slightly reminiscent of the Cabbage Patch Kids days.
— Fashionista.com (@Fashionista_com) April 20, 2015
Analysts told USA Today, though, that there was no expectation this would create any long-term backlash against Target. After all, the retailer had survived a similar situation four years ago when it launched a line by Italian designer Missoni that quickly sold out.
Target posted a number of apologies on its Twitter feed Sunday, as consumers became increasingly frustrated with not being to snag the Pulitzer swag online. The site never actually crashed but heavy traffic slowed the process and the company limited the number of visitors it could handle at several points, Fortune reports. Its website was actually inaccessible for about 20 minutes at one point.
Plenty of folks who did score the Lilly Pulitzer gear at Target turned right around and listed the clothing for auction on eBay—which may now be the only place to get the limited-edition Pulitzer line. Target isn’t planning to restock the 250 different products in the line.
— eBay (@eBay) April 20, 2015
Many of the Pulitzer collection snafus seemed to be fairly avoidable. Target has been hyping the collection since it was first announced in January. A celeb-studded preview of the line in New York’s Bryant Park last week also stirred up a lot of excitement, and social media has been buzzing about the release for some time, reports Fortune.
— Kristin Davis (@KristinDavis) April 19, 2015
Even actress Kristin Davis, who helped popularize Lilly in her role as Charlotte on Sex and the City, was disappointed. Clearly, fans were ready to stampede the stores and website in anticipation that it would sell out, becoming something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Meanwhile, Target is never one to stand still for long. The retailer has partnered with Life Time Fitness to introduce a 39-minute workout regimen at Lifetime Fitness clubs to shape up sales of its proprietary C9 Champion activewear brand.