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April 19, 2015

Target stores swarmed, website has issues from Lilly Pulitzer rollout

Shopping Target
Target Emily Garvin/for PhillyVoice

Shoppers line up at the Target in Malvern at 7 a.m. to purchase items from the Lilly Pulitzer collection on April 19, 2015.

Target learned a hard lesson on Sunday: Do not underestimate American shoppers.

The retail chain rolled out their highly anticipated stock of Lilly Pulitzer items on their online shop as well as all of their stores  on April 19. The line of spring-themed clothing and accessories known for their floral prints were made available to the public when the stores opened on Sunday morning and the collection went live on the company's website.

It went something like this:

The rollout was delayed on the website according to Target's twitter page, and right around 3 a.m. the online store was made inaccessible for about 15 minutes by the company because of the high volume of traffic they were experiencing.

The problems sparked outrage from eager shoppers on the internet, including actress Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame:

The online shop was virtually wiped out not long after the website became accessible. Shoppers are now greeted with this message on nearly every Lilly Pulitzer item:


Those looking to grab some of the merchandise in an actual Target store are out of luck if they weren't in line at 7 a.m. this morning. Target spokesman Joshua Thompson told USA Today that lines circled many Targets in anticipation of the rollout, and most of the stores are already sold out as well.

Target does not plan to restock any of the items, saying it was a limited-time deal.

Many of those participating in the sale this morning tweeted pictures of the long lines and the empty shelves.

Emily Garvin, a 27-year-old corporate event planner from Philadelphia, was in line at the Target store in Malvern at 7 a.m.

"When I got there there was probably like 30 people in front of me," Garvin said, "By 7:45 a.m. there was about 200."

A manager came out before the store opened at 8 a.m., requesting that the shoppers walk and not run in to the store to ensure safety. That lasted for about the first 50 people who entered.

"Once you got in to the store it was insane. Everybody was running."

Gavin said that the collection was not concentrated in one section of the store, but instead spread throughout it in separate department sections. Makeup items were in the makeup section, dresses were in the clothing section, and so on. This led to a frantic atmosphere.

"It was like supermarket sweeps," Garvin said, "Girls were crying, attitudes were sassy, girls were hovering around the dressing rooms waiting for returns."

While Garvin was able to purchase several of the Lilly Pulitzer items, those behind her didn't have much luck.

"By 8:05 a.m., everything was gone. If you were like the 50th person in line, there was no reason to even go in the store."

If you missed out on the frenzy but still want one of the items, many are already selling some of them on eBay. However, it's going to cost you in some cases triple the retail value.

Ebay Target