Some of Adidas’ remaining Yeezy shoes are back on sale – months after the German sportswear company ended its relationship with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
Adidas ended its year-long partnership with Ye in late October in light of his anti-Semitic remarks and other harmful behavior. In the months that followed, the fate of the unsold €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of Yeezys remained uncertain – until earlier this month, when Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden announced the company would sell some of its remaining stock and donate part of the proceeds to social justice organizations.
The first batch of Adidas’ remaining Yeezys went on sale on Wednesday. According to the retailer’s website, the sneakers are currently available through Adidas’ Confirmed app. A portion of the profits will be donated to organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, according to Adidas.
Wednesday’s release marks the first time Adidas has sold Yeezys since the partnership ended in October. The Yeezy products on sale include existing designs as well as those initiated in 2022 and slated for release in 2023, Adidas previously said.
“We believe (the sale and donation of these Yeezys) is the best solution as it respects the designs created and the shoes produced, helps our employees, solves an inventory problem and will have a positive impact on our communities,” Gulden said in a May 19 statement.
At the annual shareholder meeting on 11 May, Gulden explained that the company made the decision to sell and donate Yeezys after speaking to non-governmental organisations and groups that were harmed by Ye’s comments and actions.
Some details of Adidas’ plans are still unclear – including how many Yeezys will eventually be sold and what percentage of sales will be donated. The Associated Press contacted Adidas on Wednesday for more information.
The Yeze breakup has cost Adidas hundreds of millions of dollars and contributed to a 600 million euro ($655 million) loss in sales in the final three months of 2022, helping the company post a 513 million euro quarterly loss.
Adidas reported sales losses of €400 million ($441 million) in early 2023, the company said earlier this month.
Net sales fell 1% to €5.27 billion in the first quarter, the company said. It reported a net loss of 24 million euros, a slump from a profit of 310 million euros in the same period last year.
Operating profit, which excludes some items such as taxes, fell to 60 million euros from 437 million euros a year earlier.
Meanwhile, investors filed a class action lawsuit against Adidas at the end of April, alleging that the company knew about Ye’s offensive remarks and harmful behaviour years before it terminated its contract with him. Adidas has denied the allegations.
AP Business Writer David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, and AP Retail Writer Anne D’Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.