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Adidas rakes in $437 million from first sale of Yeezy stockpile

Adidas said part of the proceeds will go to anti-hate groups.
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Posted at 6:45 PM, Aug 03, 2023

Months after cutting ties with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, over his antisemitic comments, Adidas has brought in $437 million in its first sale of Yeezy sneakers left over after the split.

The German sportswear maker announced earlier this year that it would try to make the best of a negative situation by selling off its $1.3 billion stockpile of unsold Yeezy merchandise and donating part of the proceeds to charitable organizations that combat antisemitism and other forms of hate. The first batch of the widely popular sneakers that were released in June quickly sold out.

Adidas announced Thursday that it helped the company reach an operating profit of more than $192 million in the second quarter of this year. Of that, Adidas said it has already donated over $10 million and expects to give an additional $100 million.

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"We will continue to carefully sell off more of the existing Yeezy inventory," Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden said in a statement. "This is much better than destroying and writing off the inventory and allows us to make substantial donations to organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change and Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism. And it is of course also helping both our cash flow and general financial strength." 

The first sale unloaded about a quarter of the company's Yeezy sneakers that have been stacked in warehouses since Adidas terminated its partnership with Ye in October 2022. It was then that Adidas decided to halt production of its line of Yeezy products, which has been a major source of revenue for the company since its launch in 2015. 

Adidas reported a more than $655 million loss in sales during the final quarter of 2022. Now the company is trying to stage a comeback and turn a negative into a positive with its massive backstock of Yeezy products.

A second sale started Wednesday and shares in the company are up about 41% this year.