Shoppers swarm for Missoni at Target
01:01 - Source: HLN

Story highlights

NEW: up and running after periodic outages Tuesday amid launch of Missoni line

Stores across country report selling out of stock within hours of opening

Retailer says demand for zigzag designs exceeds typical Black Friday activity

Clothing, housewares from iconic Italian designer typically sell for thousands of dollars

CNN  — 

Talk about an overwhelming response.

The much-anticipated launch of a new collaborative line between Italian designer Missoni and Target caused the retailer’s website to crash several times Tuesday.

“ is seeing greater item demand than we do on a typical Black Friday, and the excitement for this limited-time designer collection is unprecedented,” the store said in a statement. “We are slowly bringing the site back online to ensure we can provide a positive shopping experience to our guests.”

By Wednesday, the site was back up and running, but many of the colorful, zigzag designs were out of stock.

Between 7:47 and 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, the homepage was completely down with a connection timeout error, according to AlertSite, a Web performance monitoring business. For most of Tuesday afternoon and evening, the homepage displayed a courtesy page of the Target dog letting visitors know the site was overloaded.

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“We are suddenly extremely popular,” the page said.

The fervor wasn’t only online. At stores nationwide, customers eager to grab up the colorful zigzag designs began lining up hours before opening. Stores reported selling out of stock within hours as shoppers grabbed up clothing and housewares at deeply discounted prices.

A full-priced knit scarf by the iconic Italian designer runs from $175 to $200 at department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. The Missoni for Target collection includes knit dresses and sweaters between $40 and $60. On the pricier side, a women’s bike costs $399.99 and a 28-inch piece of roller luggage, $199.99

The reaction comes amid considerable buzz leading up to the public debut of the collaboration. A private launch event September 7 in New York’s Times Square was described in media reports as a “madhouse” with celebs such as Emma Roberts, Camilla Belle and Rachel Zoe in attendance.

Actress Jessica Alba tweeted that she “dreamt about the Missoni 4 Target bike last night” and that she hoped her husband was “going to get it 4 me?!?” Singer Jessica Simpson retweeted Alba, saying that she wanted the bike, too: “So cute!”

Target has collaborated with other designers before, from Isaac Mizrahi to Jean Paul Gaultier, but none to this effect. The collection was scheduled to be available from Tuesday through October 22 at Target stores and It was unclear how Tuesday’s activity would affect future sales.