In a strategic move to mitigate losses from its terminated partnership with Kanye West, also known as Ye, Adidas has announced plans to sell the remaining stocks of Yeezy sneakers. The decision comes in the wake of the company severing ties with the rapper and fashion designer in 2022 following his controversial antisemitic comments on social media. Despite the fallout, the Yeezy brand continues to command a strong presence in the resale market, reflecting unwavering consumer demand for these iconic sneakers.
Adidas’s Financial Struggle and Strategic Turnaround
The German sportswear giant has faced significant financial challenges over the past year, notably from the discontinuation of the Yeezy business line and the need to reduce stockpiles through discounted wholesales. These issues were compounded by currency fluctuations, particularly with a €1bn loss attributed to these factors. However, Adidas reported an operating profit of €268m in 2023 and anticipates a substantial improvement in the coming year, largely due to operational enhancements and strategic inventory management.
Bjørn Gulden, who transitioned from Puma to lead Adidas in 2023, has been pivotal in steering the company through these turbulent times. Under his leadership, Adidas has managed to preserve the value of the unsold Yeezy inventory, which amounted to approximately €1.2bn, avoiding a total write-off and maintaining a portion of the partnership’s financial contributions.
The Yeezy Sales Strategy
Adidas’s approach to offloading the remaining Yeezy stock aims to recoup at least the production costs of these sneakers. This strategy reflects the company’s commitment to financial prudence while recognizing the enduring popularity of the Yeezy brand among consumers. However, Adidas remains cautious, factoring in a potential write-off of about €300m for the unsold Yeezy items in its future financial projections.
External Economic Pressures
Adding to Adidas’s challenges is the economic situation in Argentina, a significant market for the brand, especially as the official kit supplier for the national football team. The devaluation of the Argentine Peso by more than 50% in December 2023, under President Javier Milei’s “economic shock therapy,” has further strained Adidas’s profitability. This currency devaluation is expected to continue impacting the company’s financial performance into the current year, mirroring concerns raised by rival sportswear firm Puma about the region’s economic volatility.
As Adidas navigates these multifaceted challenges, the company’s strategic decisions, particularly regarding the Yeezy stock and its response to global economic pressures, will be crucial in determining its path to recovery and growth. With a focus on operational efficiency and market adaptation, Adidas aims to strengthen its position in the competitive sportswear industry, despite the setbacks encountered in recent times.