Target says it has no plans to limit the quantities it sells of its limited-time designer lines even though more than 25,000 Missoni for Target products landed on eBay at much higher prices the same day as the launch last week.
So much for making high-end fashion "available to all," Target spokesman Joshua Thomas says.
"Missoni mayhem," as Thomas calls it, is but the latest example of a phenomenon that can give retailers and consumers fits. Hot items, whether they`re trendy Christmas toys, the latest fashions or best bargains, draw crowds. But they also attract a form of retail scalper -- people or small businesses buy in bulk, then sell products for a profit online or in stores.
Target`s Web site crashed on Sept. 13, and much of the Missoni for Target line sold out in some stores and online. Many of the 400 Missoni fashions and home products sold at Target are still for sale on eBay, often at two or more times the price Target is, or was, charging.
A Missoni bikini that retailed for $50 at Target sold for twice that on eBay. The designer`s ladies bicycle was priced by Target at $399, but was listed on eBay for as much as $1,800. At least one sold for more than $1,200 on the site.
Abercrombie & Fitch always limits purchases, and luxury stores including Saks Fifth Avenue put a cap on how many high-end designer products shoppers can buy to curb reselling. Other stores, including Target, do it at the holidays to keep resellers from depleting their inventories of hot gifts.
"Retailers are happy the demand is there, but the supply is limited, so they want to accommodate as many people as possible," says Joe LaRocca, the National Retail Federation`s senior adviser on asset protection.
LaRocca says stores don`t like to "lose control of...
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