Shoppers hunting for Target’s Vineyard Vines line aren’t completely out of luck, but it’s not smooth sailing either.
Items in the summer-inspired designer collaboration started selling out minutes after going on sale May 18 online and then hours later when stores opened with a mad-dash for the 300-plus product line.
Nearly two weeks later, several collection items in home goods and pet products are still available in some stores, and online a few pieces of clothing have trickled back in from returns or were briefly restocked.
More returns could be headed to stores as Saturday is the two-week mark.
Target’s return period for its limited-edition collaborations is 14 days instead of the standard 90-day return policy. Shoppers with a REDCard get an additional 30 days on top of the collection’s 14-day return policy.
The designer brand is best known for its smiling pink whale. The Target collection includes more than 300 items from clothes for women, men and children as well as accessories and pet and home goods. Prices ranging from $2 to $120, with most under $35.
Still open: Most Payless stores are closed, but here are the 665 stores that will be open in June
VIneyard Vines for Target: Shoppers disappointed at how fast Target collection selling out
The eBay effect
Many items landed on eBay soon after selling out in-store and online.
In the first day, more than 10,000 items went up for sale on the auction website. On Friday, there were more than 12,000 items on eBay and more than 6,000 sales have been completed.
One of the highest markups on eBay was a pink women’s quarter zip pullover sweatshirt. While it sold originally at Target for $30, a recent eBay auction sold for $244.50 plus $8.30 for shipping.
Target limited online shoppers to five of each item but there was not the same rule in place for stores.
“With any limited-edition partnership, we aim to strike a balance between offering enough inventory so guests can purchase the items they want, while keeping the collections limited in nature,” Target said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Target has done similar limited-edition collaborations with well-known companies and designers, including TOMS, Lilly Pulitzer, Hunter, Marimekko and Victoria Beckham.
Trading and resale groups
Some of the eBay prices are higher than merchandise sold in Vineyard Vines retail stores.
Besides eBay, there are many Facebook trading and resale groups that have formed and some have rules to prevent exorbitant prices.
In a Facebook group called “Vineyard Vines for Target BST,” the group’s rules call for “no selling for profit – only finder fees.”
“Marking up prices is NOT allowed,” the Facebook group says. “Only retail prices, shipping, Paypal fee’s and UP TO $10 material/time/finders fee per transaction will be allowed. No EXCEPTIONS!
Lauren Langford, of Summerville, South Carolina, says she refuses to pay over retail for anything in the collection. She wanted to buy her 6-month-old son a Vineyard Vines rashguard that sold for $12 in stores and online. She has seen it sell for $30 and up.
“The whole point of the collab was for Vineyard Vines to be accessible to more people and more affordable, and I feel like that was taken advantage of,” said Langford, a mother of four. “I understand supply and demand, but for a profit as small as these people would be getting? It just isn’t sensible to me.”
Target is not the only store where you can get Vineyard Vines items at lower than the full-price stores.
Brothers Shep and Ian Murray founded Vineyard Vines in 1998 and took inspirations from summers they spent on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The company has more than 100 freestanding stores, and its merchandise is also sold in over 600 specialty and department stores.
There also are some outlet stores and the company offers a 20% discount for new subscribers at Vineyardvines.com.
Nordstrom Rack, 6pm.com and other sites regularly sell discounted Vineyard Vines products. On Friday, 6pm.com had nearly 300 items and Nordstrom Rack’s website had 71 items.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko