MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Target saw its highly-anticipated Lilly Pulitzer collection fly off online and physical stores shelves Sunday, and shoppers took to social media to complain about website issues, lack of stock, and other shoppers who bought pieces of the collection by the handful.

The Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection included 250 items made by the discount retailer in collaboration with the design house known for its bright, beach-inspired looks. It only took a few hours for most of the limited edition release to sell out online and in stores across the country.

When the collaboration was first announced in January, it was a trending topic on Twitter. Many were excited that the usually pricy resort wear would be at a much lower price point.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the collection was trending again on Twitter, but for different reasons.

When the collection went on sale online around 3 a.m., many users encountered website issues. A few hours later, Target issued an apology on Twitter. By that time, however, the collection was almost entirely sold out online as well as in stores here in the Twin Cities and on the East Coast.

“We know you’re frustrated & we’re sorry,” the company tweeted. “We appreciate your patience.”

According to a company spokesperson, Target’s website didn’t crash due to the flood of online shoppers.

“We took the site down intentionally,” Jessica Carlson said. “We were intentionally slowing down the traffic to the site so people would be able to shop the collection.”

At brick-and-mortar stores, lines formed across the nation. Social media appears to show that early bird shoppers were able to snag several items – ranging from dresses to beach towels – while those who dropped by a little later in the morning found skeletal-looking racks.

Some shoppers who waited in line at the Target store in Edina said they weren’t surprised to see the collection go fast and tempers start to flare.

“You can’t expect it to be perfect with all these people and all this excitement all over the country,” shopper Kelly Sapmaz said.

Another woman, Katie Miller of Minneapolis, said strategizing — and waiting in line — is all part of the fun.

“Like a puzzle…you’re trying to piece together the things you want,” she said.

The Lilly Pulitzer collection is the Minneapolis-based retailer’s most talked-about release since its 2011 collaboration with Missoni. When that launched, Target’s website did crash and shoppers took to stores like it was Black Friday.

Recently, Target has made headlines due to huge layoffs, its retreat from Canada and the lingering issues stemming from the massive data breach in 2013. With a new CEO at the helm, Target looked to regain its status as a chic-for-cheap retailer with the Lilly Pulitzer launch.

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