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adidas Pauses Yeezy Release Plans for November

adidas has announced a pause in releasing some of its remaining Yeezy sneakers for the final months of 2023. According to Brendan Dunne of Complex, an internal memo from adidas stated,

“As a brand we will not do a new drop for the remainder of the year both for our internal e-com and retail as well as wholesale. We will not be shipping out any new stock, this direction was given at the board level."

While adidas Yeezy sneakers generated billions for adidas, the relationship between the German sportswear giant and Ye, formerly Kanye West, hit turbulent waters when the artist publicly disseminated antisemitic remarks on various platforms, including social media and interviews. The controversial outburst did not sit well with the public, stakeholders, or adidas, leading to the termination of the partnership.

Yet, this decision brought with it a new conundrum for adidas. Warehouses were filled with over $1 billion worth of Yeezy sneakers awaiting release. After considerable contemplation and on the verge of registering its first operating loss in 31 years, adidas decided that selling the existing stock was the optimal way forward.

In May 2023, the company executed a release exclusively through its e-commerce platform, followed by another in August involving adidas' e-commerce and various other retailers.

Interestingly, in the wake of the severed partnership, internal documents from adidas have shown an avoidance of referencing Ye or the Yeezy brand name. Instead, the term "Aurora" is used in the context of these product releases.

The decision to sell the remaining Yeezy stock alleviated adidas' projected losses by a notable $300 million. Nonetheless, the brand is still expected to operate at a deficit. Once the remaining inventory is sold, it’s likely that Yeezy designs will not be part of adidas’ strategy, according to CEO Bjørn Gulden.

In Complex’s report, one retailer speculated that due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, adidas found it “too risky” to release more Yeezy sneakers only a year removed from Ye’s vitriol.

With no more Yeezy releases taking place for the rest of 2023, adidas is likely taking a more significant financial hit than originally expected. We’ll keep you updated on the latest happenings regarding the remaining Yeezy inventory on our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app.

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