After walking away from Kanye West last year, sneaker maker Adidas AG is still trying to figure out what to do with nearly $1.3 billion worth of tarnished, leftover gear that’s still branded in the rap megastar’s name.
“ “If you can’t sell and you can’t destroy, what’s your option?” ”
— Adidas CEO Bjorn Goulden
last year ended its partnership with West, who now goes by Ye, after he made a string of antisemitic remarks, and the shoe-maker said it would stop making Yeezy-brand products. But during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, executives and analysts signaled that Adidas was caught between reputational demands and environmental ones as it weighs how to unload that unsold gear.
During the call, an analyst pointed out the difficulties of either selling or destroying the gear, and asked Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden what Adidas’ options were for getting rid of it all. “I ask you,” Gulden responded. “So if you can’t sell and you can’t destroy, what’s your option?” “People will say, ‘you cannot destroy it’ because it’s a sustainability issue, right?” Gulden continued. “So ‘please don’t destroy.’ And on the other side, ‘please don’t sell’ because you have a reputation issue. “So if you say you’re confused, I can just say that’s the fact, and that’s why we haven’t made a decision on it because it’s a very complicated issue,” he said. The piles of shoes have weighed on Adidas’s stock, which has fallen 22.7% over the past 12 months but finished 2.6% higher on Wednesday. Adidas executives last month said that not selling the leftover Yeezy products could lead to 1.2 billion euros — roughly $1.27 billion — in lost sales. Previously: Adidas has a lot of Kanye West–designed Yeezy gear in its warehouses, and that could cost the company more than $1 billion Gulden, during the call, said that the company opted not to halt production on the Yeezy brand to preserve jobs for its thousands of factory workers. He added that Adidas could end up giving away the shoes — or proceeds from sales. “We could sell the product at cost, and it will be a zero thing,” Gulden added during the call. “We could …