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Adidas finally has a plan for its stockpile of Yeezy shoes

A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at a store in Paramus, N.J., on Oct. 25, 2022. After cutting ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, Adidas now plans to sell its stock of unsold Yeezy shoes and donate the proceeds to charity.
Seth Wenig
/
AP
A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at a store in Paramus, N.J., on Oct. 25, 2022. After cutting ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, Adidas now plans to sell its stock of unsold Yeezy shoes and donate the proceeds to charity.

Adidas plans to sell its stock of unsold Yeezy shoes and will donate the proceeds from the sales to charity, CEO Bjorn Gulden said Thursday.

The German athletic and footwear brand cut ties with Ye, the rapper and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West, late last year over his antisemitic remarks — leaving the company to figure out what to do with its Yeezy merchandise.

During Adidas' annual shareholder meeting Thursday, Gulden said the company spent months thinking of options on what to do with the unsold sneakers, such as talking with several nongovernmental organizations, before making a decision.

One of the options included simply destroying the shoes, but the company ultimately decided against it, Gulden said.

"What we are trying to do now over time is to sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organizations that are helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye's statements," he said.

Gulden added that the company is still working on the details of how and when the selloff will take place.

It's unclear whether Ye would receive any payments due to him from the sale of the Yeezy stockpile. Gulden also did not go into detail about which organizations will get donations.

The latest move by Adidas comes nearly six months after the company cut its ties with the rapper, halting production of Yeezy products and its payments to Ye.

Earlier this month, a group of investors filed a class-action lawsuit against Adidas, blaming the company for knowing about Ye's problematic behavior years before cutting ties with him and ending the collaboration. Adidas denied the allegations.

In February, Adidas estimated that the decision to not sell the existing Yeezy merchandise would cut the company's full-year revenue by about $1.28 billion and its operating profit by $533 million. In the first quarter alone, the discontinuation of the Yeezy business cost Adidas nearly $440 million in sales.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.