28 July 2023

Adidas to release second batch of Yeezy trainers after break-up with Ye

28 July 2023

Adidas has said it is releasing a second batch of high-end Yeezy trainers after cutting ties with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, as the German sportswear brand seeks to unload the unsold shoes while donating to groups fighting antisemitism.

The online sale, to start on Wednesday through Adidas smartphone apps and its website, follows an earlier set of sales in May.

Models that will be available include the Yeezy Boost 350 V2, 500, and 700 as well as the Yeezy Slide and Foam RNR.

The company cut ties with Ye in October after he made antisemitic and other offensive remarks online and in interviews.

That left Adidas holding 1.2 billion euros (£1 billion) worth of unsold Yeezys and searching for a responsible way to dispose of them.

Adidas chief executive Bjorn Gulden said in May that selling the popular trainers and donating some of the profits was the best solution to deal with the unsold inventory and make a difference.

He said the company spoke with non-governmental organisations and groups that were harmed by Ye’s comments and actions.

Part of the profits from the sales of the Yeezy shoes will go to the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, run by social justice advocate Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.

Shoes sold directly by Adidas in North America will include blue square pins established by Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism as a symbol of solidarity in rejecting antisemitism, the company said.

Adidas declined to give details on numbers of shoes that would be released for sale and how much of the proceeds would be donated.

Asked if Ye would receive royalties from the sales, the company would only say that “we will honour our contractual obligations and enforce our rights but will not share any more details”.

The company said on Monday that the first sale of Yeezy shoes helped its preliminary second-quarter financial results and contributed to it raising its outlook for the year – from a high single-digit decline in revenue to a mid single-digit decline.

That would still amount to an operating loss of 450 million euros (£385 million) this year, instead of a loss of 700 million euros (£598 million).

Adidas, which reports its earnings for the first half of the year on Thursday, said it expected future Yeezy sales to further boost its results.

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