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Post-Kanye Era? Adidas to Liquidate Yeezy Inventory for Philanthropy

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NEW YORK, USA – Adidas, the renowned German sportswear giant, announced its plans on Thursday, May 11, 2023, to sell a significant portion of its residual Yeezy merchandise, once the brainchild of the contentious rapper Kanye West, known now as Ye.

The proceeds from this sell-off will be donated to various organizations, as the company seeks to distance itself from the artist’s controversial comments.

The unanticipated announcement came from Adidas CEO Bjorn Guden at the company’s annual general meeting, marking a new chapter in Adidas’s ongoing strategy since the termination of its partnership with West in October.

The break followed a series of anti-Semitic remarks made by the musician, leading to the cessation of production for the highly lucrative Yeezy line, which was co-designed with West.

“Burning the goods is not the solution,” Guden told shareholders. He further stated, “What we will try to do over time is to sell part of these goods and to donate the money to organizations that help us and which also have been hurt by Kanye’s statements.”

The specifics surrounding when and how this sell-off will occur remain unclear, but the company has affirmed its commitment to this cause. “When we will do that and how we will do that is not clear but we’re working on it,” Guden added.

The abundance of Yeezy products left in Adidas’s inventory has been a significant concern since the discontinuation of the partnership.

If the company chose not to sell the remaining Yeezy merchandise, it faced a potential revenue loss of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), as revealed in the company’s full-year 2022 results earlier this week.

Guden’s announcement offers a glimmer of hope for fans who may still wish to get their hands on the final pieces of the Yeezy collection.

Moreover, it brings a philanthropic angle to the decision, offering some respite from the controversy surrounding Kanye West.

This move by Adidas serves as a stark reminder of the potential impact of celebrity partnerships on brands, and the importance of maintaining company values, even when dealing with globally recognized figures.

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