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Adidas will sell Yeezy shoes and donate proceeds, CEO says




Adidas plans to sell its unsold Yeezy shoes and donate the proceeds to charity, CEO Bjørn Gulden told shareholders on Thursday.

The company cut ties with Ye, the rapper and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West, late last year after he made a series of anti-Semitic comments. Adidas’ Yeezy partnership with Ye was among the most successful, generating close to 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue, according to estimates. In early February, Adidas warned it was looking at huge losses if it couldn’t sell its inventory, raising questions about what it would do with the contaminated shoes.

Kanye West’s anti-Semitism cost him Adidas and most of his empire

It seems that the company has decided not to destroy them.

– Burning is not the solution, said Gulden at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The company had consulted with several non-governmental organizations before arriving at a solution, he noted.

“What we’re trying to do over time is sell portions of these items and then donate to organizations that help us and that have also been hurt by Kanye’s statements,” Gulden added.

If Adidas sells the shoes, it will end months of back-and-forth as the shoe brand weighed possible solutions — none of which would leave the company unscathed. Options included rebranding the signature sneakers, liquidating them or donating them in some form. Another was destroying the shoes, a practice that some retailers and designer brands have come under fire for in recent years due to environmental concerns.

Adidas has $500 million worth of Kanye West sneakers and no good alternatives

Last November, Adidas officials said they could recoup the “vast majority” of losses by repurposing the shoes, which sell for anywhere from $200 to nearly $600, and selling them at a discount. Gulden later indicated that the company might not sell any of the product, which would have left Adidas with unsold inventory that analysts say is worth up to $500 million.

The company ended its relationship with Ye in late October after a series of controversies. He appeared at his Paris Fashion Week show wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt, then made anti-Semitic comments on Instagram and Twitter, which he doubled down on in an unaired segment of an interview with the then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.



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