“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to return our focus to our core: product, consumers, retail partners and athletes,” Gulden said in a statement.
The company ended its relationship with the entertainer in late October after a string of controversies that began when he appeared in a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at his Paris Fashion Week show. Days later, he made anti-Semitic remarks on Instagram and Twitter, then doubled down on that rhetoric in a podcast and an unaired portion of an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Adidas has $500 million worth of Kanye West sneakers and no good options
Celebrities, political leaders and Jewish organizations condemned the artist and called out Adidas, which was slower to respond than Ye’s other business partners. Balenciaga and JPMorgan Chase, among others, had cut ties with him weeks earlier.
At the time, it faced a dilemma: what to do with about $500 million worth of Yeezy shoes. Adidas said in February it could lose 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in revenue this year if it was unable to reuse the merchandise. Industry experts said Adidas could sell rebranded shoes, liquidate them, donate them or destroy them — but that each option had its downsides.
Gulden said Wednesday that Adidas has ruled out burning, giving away or renaming the sneakers, according to Bloomberg News. But he said the company is open to selling them and donating the profits to charity.
“There are so many people interested in this from different communities around the world,” he said. “I’ve only been on this for seven weeks and I don’t feel qualified to make a decision based on the facts I have.”
But there appears to be a demand for the product. The CEO of Impossible Kicks, a major online reseller, told CNN last week that sales of Yeezy are up 30 percent since Adidas and Ye parted ways last fall.
The company faces an expected loss of 700 million euros in 2023 if it decides “irrevocably” not to sell any of its Yeezy stocks. But it faces other issues, analysts say, including declining demand in China and how the company will fill the revenue gap left by the Yeezy brand.
The partnership between Beyoncé’s Ivy Park clothing brand and Adidas has underperformed, the Wall Street Journal reported. And so far Adidas has failed to find “the next big thing,” Tom Nikic, a Wedbush analyst, told The Washington Post in February after the company’s announcement of potential Yeezy losses.
Adidas are “in a competitive industry and they haven’t really had their A game for several years now,” he said. “So it does make it tough.”
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