Just a couple of days ago the adidas CEO, Bjørn Gulden, publically addressed analysts about a problem that could potentially lead to a loss of over £1,080,000,000. Specifically, the issue is what to do with the existing stock of YEEZY products now that Kanye and the German sportswear brand have separated.
Adidas believes that selling the stock could damage the reputation of the brand. Furthermore, they went on to say that destroying the stock would be a huge loss for the company, not to mention the environmental impact.
Having said this, some suggested that the stock could be donated to those who need them. Somewhat troublingly, the adidas CEO stated that this comes with its own complications, specifically saying: “I think you agree that these are not normal shoes.” This can either mean that shoes are somehow not suitable for those in need, or that the value of the shoes are simply too high to give them away…
“If you look at that business, there’s no doubt that [Ye] is one of the most creative people that has ever been on the planet,” said Gulden. “I think the way this was taken to market is probably the best go-to-market job that any brand has done and it’s very sad that this is falling apart.”
“The people that are saying send the shoes to Turkey or somewhere where people don’t have shoes or there has been a tragedy happening, I think you agree that these are not normal shoes,” said Gulden. “The value of the product is not the physical value of the ingredients. It’s a brand and merchandise that is sold at a high price.”
Another option would be to sell the stock to a third-party buyer, an option that is plausible but comes with reputational risks.
“I can tell you since I started here, I probably got 500 different business proposals from people who would like to buy the inventory,” said Gulden. “But again, that will not necessarily be the right thing to do.”
“If you can’t sell and you can’t destroy, what’s your option?” said Gulden. “That’s why we haven’t made a decision on it, because it’s a very complicated issue.”
“We currently have maybe the hottest shoe in the market and it’s the Adidas Samba,” said Gulden, apparently this wasn’t a joke… “You have seen it for a while, I would say, in fashion shows and also on celebrities that have actually bought the shoes themselves. It’s hot in Asia, hot in Latin America, hot in Europe, and in America, and I can’t remember the last time I saw that. So look for the Samba, look for the Gazelle, and ironically also the Spezial, which was actually a handball shoe that even I used when I was playing, which probably tells you how old I’m getting.”