Target's checkout registers, website and mobile app went offline for a short period Tuesday afternoon, the third time in three months that a technical glitch affected its shoppers.

The outage was brief and didn't cause as much disruption to shopping as the lengthier shutdown on June 15 did.

"As the result of a payment processing issue, some Target guests were temporarily unable to make purchases at Target stores and at," the company said in a statement. "Within an hour, our technology teams identified and began to remedy the issue to limit the impact on our guests."

Target said the difficulty was not related to the security of its systems. It also apologized to customers.

As word of the outage spread around 3 p.m. Minnesota time, Target shoppers went on social media to report their experiences. Some said Target employees were handing out candy and coupons to the Starbucks outlets in their stores as customers waited., a website that tracks Twitter reports of corporate system outages, showed a peak of about 1,100 tweets about the Target problems.

On June 15, a Saturday, the retailer experienced a shutdown at its checkout registers that lasted about two hours.

Evan Ramstad • 673-4241