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Following Adidas’ infamous split from Yeezy brand founder Kanye “Ye” West following repeated antisemitic statements in October, sneaker fans (and the rest of the world) wondered what would happen to the leftover pairs of the once highly lucrative, now-defunct shoe line. Following months of considerations, the German sportswear company has finally announced that they have plans to sell their remaining stock of the shoes.
In an annual shareholder meeting held Thursday, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden announced that the brand will donate a portion of Yeezy proceeds to charity. Per Adidas’ collaborative business arrangement and its contract with West, the designer and entrepreneur will be entitled to 15 percent of all sales.
With several million pairs of unsold Yeezys still in existence, Adidas ultimately ruled out destroying them following the dissolved business deal, particularly given sustainability concerns. And at one point, Adidas floated the idea of rebranding Yeezy in order to sell the shoes without West’s involvement because they were legally entitled to; 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 to existing product. We intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023.” Following Thursday’s meeting, it seems that approach was struck down.
“What we are trying to do now over time is sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organizations that are helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye’s statements,” Gulden said, according to Complex.
Adidas’ fourth-quarter losses, which were connected to the loss of Yeezy revenue, amounted to $1.3 billion. And in the last two fiscal quarters, those losses amounted to an additional $441 million, making the choice to sell the lingering products a financial one, despite what Gulden referred to as a “reputational risk” for Adidas.
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