(August 4, 2023) – Kanye West reportedly made $85 million from the June sales of unsold Yeezy shoes. Adidas had been sitting on a massive inventory of Yeezys since it cut ties with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West in October 2022 after he made antisemitic comments on social media.
In late May, the company decided to sell the unsold supplies and donate a “significant amount” of the proceeds “to selected organizations working to combat discrimination and hate, including racism and antisemitism.”
The first batch of sales were a huge success, selling out within 48 hours of it release. This resulted in a windfall for West, who has a 15% royalty on all Yeezy sales. The Financial Times estimated that West’s earnings from the high-end shoes could be as high as $85 million.
The strong sales of the unsold Yeezys have been a relief for Adidas. The German sportswear company had been facing a potential write-down of $1.3 billion on the shoes. However, the sales have helped to reduce the potential write-down to around $437 million.
The company said the improved revenue expectations in the second quarter of 2023 reflected “the positive impact of the first sale of some of its Yeezy inventory, and a slightly-better-than expected development of the … business in the first half of the year.”
According to Forbes, the $437 million worth of sales was “largely in line” with Yeezy sales during the same quarter last year. Adidas announced last week that it would put another batch of its Yeezy inventory up for sale during August. It remains to be seen whether the remaining releases would see similar price levels and demand.
In addition to the financial windfall, the May sales of unsold Yeezys also have symbolic significance. The shoes were a major source of controversy when West made the antisemitic comments that led to his split with Adidas. The fact that they were able to sell so well despite the controversy suggests that there is still a large audience for West’s products, even if they do not agree with his views.