Following Adidas’ infamous split with Yeezy brand founder Kanye “Ye” West following repeated anti-Semitic statements in October, sneaker fans (and the rest of the world) wondered what would happen to the remaining pairs of the once highly lucrative, now-defunct shoe line. After months of consideration, the German sportswear company has finally announced that they have plans to sell their remaining shoe inventory.
At an annual shareholder meeting held Thursday, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden announced that the brand will donate a portion of Yeezy’s proceeds to charity. According to the Adidas partnership agreement and the contract with West, the designer and entrepreneur are entitled to 15 percent of all sales.
With several million pairs of unsold Yeezys still in existence, Adidas ultimately ruled out destroying them after the business deal dissolved, especially given sustainability issues. And at some point, Adidas came up with the idea of renaming Yeezy to sell the shoes without West’s intervention, as they were legally entitled to do so; at the time, Adidas CFO Harm Ohlmeyer confirmed what the company’s public statement, released in late October, said: “Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights registered for existing products. We plan to use these rights as early as 2023.” After Thursday’s meeting, it appears that the approach has been abandoned.
“What we’re trying to do over time now is sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organizations that are helping us and that have also been hurt by Kanye’s statements,” Gulden said. Complex.
Adidas’ Q4 losses, which were related to the loss of Yeezy revenue, were $1.3 billion. And in the last two fiscal quarters, those losses amounted to another $441 million, making the choice to sell the continued products a financial one, despite what Gulden called a “reputational risk” for Adidas.