Target (NYSE:TGT) was supposed to launch a hotly anticipated Phillip Lim apparel collection in its stores next Sunday (Sept. 15). But multiple stores had the merchandise for sale about two weeks early, and some of the goods have already apparently shown up on eBay.
"Select pieces of the collection were in a few of our stores," a Target spokesman told the fashion blog Fashionista. One of the stores, in suburban Atlanta, had already been identified by another apparel blog, Racked. Target wouldn't say which other stores were involved in the early display and sales, and the spokesman said the chain was removing the merchandise and was looking into whether any items had been sold.
And according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, some of the merchandise apparently has turned up on eBay, with bids ranging from $50 for a neck scarf to more than $100 for a small satchel bag.
What's unclear is whether the eBay merchandise is authentic. While there are images of the products with their eBay listings, many of them are clearly publicity photos that the designer and chain had already released before the launch of the line. So far there are no confirmed cases of the prerelease merchandise having been sold.
Target has racked up substantial success with its specially designed, lower-priced collections from fashion designers in the past. The chain has also had problems because of the merchandise's popularity. In 2011, a newly unveiled Missoni collection wreaked havoc in stores across the chain and crashed the Target e-commerce site, with the result that some customers' orders went unfulfilled and customer service was swamped.
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