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Yeezy sales back to old levels – despite Adidas severing ties with Kanye West

Adidas sold €400m (£345m) worth of Kanye West-designed footwear from April to the end of June this year – as much as the same time last year, despite severing ties with the rapper.

The German sports giant took a hit when it ended its association with West last year following a string of antisemitic comments from the performer, now known as Ye, on social media, TV and radio.

A mountain of unsold Yeezy brand trainers were left after the partnership ended.

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But Adidas on Thursday announced its recouping losses, having decided to sell the stock previously made in conjunction with the musician.

The sale of the Yeezys added about €150m (£129.4m) to company operating profit in the second quarter of this year.

At the same time, Adidas said there was still a financial impact in the year overall.

There were no Yeezy revenues in the first three months of 2023 while in the same period a year before, about €400m (£345m) worth had been sold.

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In the first half of this year, revenue from the trainers was €400m (£345m), compared with €800m (£690m) in the first six months of last year.

Adidas is expected to break even, rather than profit for the whole of 2023, with the potential write off cost of the Yeezys coming in at €400m (£345m), less than the €500m (£430m) previously expected.

Some proceeds from the Yeezy sales will be given to charity, Adidas said, but did not detail the value of charitable contributions.

Around €180m will be spent on one-off costs related to the strategic review announced by Adidas and “donations and accruals for further donations”.

Organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change and Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism were named by Adidas as beneficiaries.

“We will continue to carefully sell off more of the existing Yeezy inventory. This is much better than destroying and writing off the inventory and allows us to make substantial donations to organisations,” Adidas chief executive Bjørn Gulden said.

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