Adidas Is Dropping a New Batch of Controversial Yeezy Shoes on Digital Channels


Adidas AG is kicking off another round of sales of Yeezy products, as the German sportswear company looks to boost earnings by working through the backlog of footwear from its cancelled partnership with entertainer Ye.

In several phases over the coming weeks, Adidas will make a range of products initially released in 2022 available around the world, according to a statement Monday. The offerings will include some of the most popular Yeezy designs, including the 350 V2 sneaker in steel gray.

Unlike its successful sale of Yeezy models in late summer of last year, Adidas this time will only offer the products through its digital platforms, cutting out some retail partners.

Adidas ended its collaboration with Ye, the rapper and designer formerly known as Kanye West, in October 2022 after a series of antisemitic and unhinged remarks. The company drew widespread condemnation at the time for appearing to take too long to pull the plug on the accord.

In November Adidas said that it had already garnered about €750 million ($800 million) in sales from two Yeezy product drops since May of last year. That helped it work through about 40 percent of the Yeezy inventory stored at various sites around the world.

Earlier this month, Adidas said it will sell €250 million of the remaining Yeezy products at least at cost, rather than writing them off. That could help the company outperform its initial earnings forecast for the year, which disappointed investors.

“There’s still demand for that Yeezy silhouette in the marketplace,” Cowen analyst John Kernan said in a phone interview last week. “That brand was generating an enormous percentage of their overall operating profit for several years.”

Since taking over as Adidas’ chief executive officer last year, Bjorn Gulden has repeatedly praised the firm for how it built up the Yeezy franchise, a level of success the industry hadn’t seen since Nike Inc. created its line of products with basketball great Michael Jordan.

While Gulden was CEO of crosstown rival Puma SE during Adidas’ Yeezy years and wasn’t affiliated with the company’s subsequent handling of the situation, he’s since regularly weighed in on the collaboration, often leading to speculation on his motives.

The CEO in September apologised for comments he made on a podcast, in which he questioned whether Ye had really meant what he said in the antisemitic statements.

And Gulden was even photographed alongside the entertainer earlier this month around the NFL Super Bowl in Las Vegas.

By Tim Loh

Learn more:

Adidas Plans More Yeezy Sales After €1 Billion Currency Hit

The company expects to generate an operating profit of around €500 million ($542 million), according to a statement Wednesday. That’s below the average analyst estimate of €1.27 billion.

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