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Truly Fast Fashion: H&M’s Lagerfeld Line Sells Out in Hours

There was mass hysteria Friday at H&M locations in the U.S. and Europe, as it launched the Karl Lagerfeld collection in about half its 1,000 locations.

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Mass hysteria for Karl.

That was the situation Friday morning at H&M locations in the U.S. and Europe as the fashion retailer launched its Karl Lagerfeld collection in about half of its 1,000 locations. Although the shipments of $49 blouses and $149 wool-cashmere coats were meant to last several weeks, most of the merchandise sold out by late Friday, with any leftovers redirected to the busiest H&M stores for weekend selling.

“We’ve been operating this business for some 60 years and we’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jörgen Andersson, marketing director of the $6.2 billion H&M. “We are as surprised as the customer [at the rapid sellout].”

Lagerfeld told WWD Friday he was “flattered” by the feeding frenzy for his designs, but frustrated that there wasn’t more merchandise available.

“This was supposed to last two weeks and it’s over in 25 minutes,” he said. “I’m sorry for the clients because I like the idea that everyone could wear Lagerfeld.

“Some people bought 20 or 30 pieces in three seconds. Funny, no?”

A spokeswoman for H&M in New York said Sunday afternoon, “We have restocked everything. We have nothing left in our warehouse, and it’s selling amazingly.” The three hottest sellers were the Lagerfeld silhouette T-shirt for $19.90; the sequin jacket at $129, and the lace dress at $99.90. “We’ve bought the most quantity of those and they have completely sold out,” she said.

A spot check Sunday at several H&M stores in the New York and Washington, D.C. areas revealed that the initial frenzy had died down, stores had restocked their shelves and still had some merchandise left.

“It was outstanding [but] it’s not sold out. We still have some in our store, and we’re selling through it. We love it, and it’s great,” said an employee Sunday at the 435 Seventh Avenue (34th Street) unit here.

At the H&M in downtown Washington, D.C., Lagerfeld’s coats and accessories have been hot sellers, department manager Dennis Turner said Sunday. “It’s not sold out, but it’s doing pretty well,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people coming in looking for it.”
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