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Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

What’s Adidas Going to Do With All Those Yeezys?

New CEO Bjorn Gulden will face questions about the doomed collaboration when the company reports earnings this week. That, plus what else to watch for in the coming days.
A black and white Yeezy trainer being held against a grey background.
Adidas estimates it would forego €1.2 billion in revenue if it cannot sell already produced Yeezy merchandise. (Shutterstock)

It’s been over four months since Adidas terminated its partnership with Ye, instantly shutting down a business that was generating well over $1 billion in annual sales for the brand. Since then, the biggest question has been what will happen to the shoes that were produced but not sold before the plug was abruptly pulled. In February, Adidas said it was considering writing off its remaining Yeezy inventory rather than attempt to sell it. That would mean foregoing as much as €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) in revenue this year, plus a hit to the bottom line of up to €700 million ($740 million), according to the company.

The statement was a blow to investors hoping that Adidas could somehow avoid paying a major penalty for its breakup with Ye; shares dropped 11 percent the day of the announcement. S&P lowered the company’s credit rating, warning it may do so again if Adidas didn’t articulate how it would make up for the lost revenue (the danger here shouldn’t be overstated; the company’s debt remains solidly investment grade, and its stock is up more than 40 percent from the lows it hit in October).

New CEO Bjorn Gulden will have to address the Yeezy inventory problem when the company reports results on Wednesday, though it may still be too soon to provide concrete answers. Equally pressing is how Adidas will replace billions of dollars in future sales that in an alternate timeline would have come from Yeezy. There are no obvious candidates in the brand’s current lineup: It’s been two years since a much-hyped collaboration with Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God was first announced, and still there’s no major product release. It’s too soon to say whether a star-studded campaign for its new Gen-Z line, Sportswear, is paying off.

Versace shows its Autumn/Winter 2023 collection in Los Angeles in the market. Gulden’s old employer, Puma, just announced it’s bringing back its wildly successful collaboration with Rihanna. Nike is making a big push with its Jordan brand, opening a new retail concept in Milan in December. And those much-discussed Nike X Tiffany Air Force 1s go on sale on Mar. 7, the day before Adidas’ results.

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There’s a reason Adidas hired Gulden – when Puma needed a hit nearly a decade ago, he struck a deal with Rihanna. Can he make history again?

What Else to Watch for This Week

Sunday

Paris Fashion Week: Lanvin, Balenciaga, Valentino

Monday

Paris Fashion Week: Stella McCartney, Zimmermann, Louis Vuitton, Sacai

Thredup reports quarterly results

Eurozone reports January retail sales

Tuesday

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Nike X Tiffany sneakers hit the market

Stitch Fix reports results

Paris Fashion Week: Chanel, Miu Miu, Y/Project

Wednesday

Fossil, Adidas, report results

Sephora opens its first UK store

Thursday

Prada, Hugo Boss, Allbirds, Ulta Beauty and Designer Brands report results

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Friday

Versace shows its Autumn/Winter 2023 collection in Los Angeles

US unemployment data for February

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

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