Consumers literally can’t get enough of Lilly Pulitzer for Target because inventory is running out.

The collection, which launched on Sunday in Target stores and on target.com sold out online within hours.

“Many of our stores had lines forming early Sunday morning,” a Target spokesman said. “Product has been selling quickly, with some stores selling out entirely in just a few minutes. We will not be replenishing product on target.com or in Target stores. The collection is limited-edition and available only while supplies last.”

There were scores of complaints online over Target’s Web site, with consumers unable to log on claiming the site had crashed. Target claimed it was carefully monitoring traffic on its Web site and was “regulating” it and denied the site crashed. “We had a team monitoring social conversations. We were managing the traffic to the site.”

The retailer was trying to avoid the problems it had in 2011 when it launched Missoni for Target and extreme consumer demand caused the Web site to crash.

“Earlier this morning we launched the much anticipated Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection,” the company said. “Due to heavy traffic, we experienced slowness to our site, resulting in an inconsistent experience for our guests. We realize there is an extreme amount of excitement around this collaboration and we apologize for any disappointment this may have caused our guests.”

At 3 a.m., Target made its Web site inaccessible to customers for 15 minutes. The Target spokesman likened it to closing a store to put the stock back in order.

Target ordered “a significant amount” of the collection because it consists not only of apparel but lifestyle and home products, touching merchandise categories across the store.

A number of products wound up on Ebay, where the prices are marked up, the spokesman said. “For us and the Lilly Pulitzer team, it’s disheartening because we want to give people a chance to experience something special and affordable.”

Target had a hunch Lilly Pulitzer for Target would perform strongly. It’s been the top topic on Target’s social media channels and had 2 billion unique consumer impressions on television, newspapers, magazines and blogs. “This our most talked about collaboration,” the spokesman said.

 

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