Sportswear brand Adidas is to sell some of Kanye West’s unsold Yeezy stock and donate a prtion of the proceeds to charity. This follows the company cutting ties with the rapper last October after his string of anti-Semitic comments. At the time, Adidas said: “Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other sort of hate speech.”
Earlier this month, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden admitted that the company’s severed collaboration with West and Yeezy was “hurting” the business (via NME). He said North American sales had been particularly affected, experiencing a 20% loss. This saw sales drop by €400m (£350 million) in the first quarter of this year.
Per the BBC, Gulden told the company’s annual shareholder meeting: “What we are trying to do now over time is to sell some of this merchandise… burning the goods would not be a solution”.
Reportedly, the company has around 1.2bn euros (£1bn; $1.3bn) worth of Yeezy shoes in storage. Gulden revealed that Adidas has decided to sell some of it instead of donating it, as they do not want to see the products reach the market indirectly. Last weekend, they maintained that if they didn’t “repurpose” the stock, 2023’s operating profit would take a €500m hit.
Gulden did concede that “as difficult as West was, he is perhaps the most creative mind in our industry”. Shares in Adidas increased 2% following the meeting.
The BBC also reports that Adidas is being sued by investors claiming the brand was aware of West’s problematic behaviour for years before the collaboration ended. Adidas rejects “these unfounded claims”.