What happens to unsold Yeezy products? Destroy it, rebrand it, export it

New York
CNN Business

Yeezy merchandise has no place to go.

Retailers are getting rid of it. Resellers block new product listings associated with it. Even low-cost outlets like TJ Maxx don’t want any products associated with hate-speaker Kanye West, the embattled rapper who legally changed his name to Ye.

So where will the growing glut of Yeezy products — sneakers, sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets, t-shirts, bags — end?

Industry analysts suggest three outcomes: it will be renamed, exported to be given away or sold in secondary markets or destroyed.

In other words, Yeezy could be heading to landfills.

It’s a dramatic fall from grace for a once coveted brand, especially Yeezy-branded sneakers that fetched thousands of dollars on the resale market.

“There really aren’t any good options for this struggling brand that sits somewhere between prestige and luxury,” said Burt Flickinger, retail expert and managing director of the retail consultancy. Strategic Resource Group.

Adidas, Gap Inc. Foot Locker and The RealReal are among a growing list of companies that have announced they will no longer sell Yeezy products, and some have removed existing Yeezy products from their stores and online channels this week. after West made a series of anti-Semitic remarks. .

Morningstar analyst David Swartz said Gap will likely have to destroy or otherwise dispose of — possibly through donations — its unsold Yeezy products.

“Gap said it would not sell the remaining items,” Swartz said. “Adidas will likely launch some products already in the works under its own name… and it will likely also be forced to destroy some merchandise. Adidas has said it will no longer pay royalties to Yeezy.

Gap and Foot Locker did not provide comment for this story.

Unloading merchandise in the national discount channel probably won’t work either. TJ Maxx, a major player in the discount space, said it won’t buy any Yeezy products for sale in its stores.

The options for dealing with unsold Yeezy equipment pose great challenges.

There is the environmental impact of destroying or disposing of unsold goods. Manufacturing garments and other garments already has a high environmental cost due to the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, high water use, water pollution and textile waste. Typical methods for destroying unwanted clothing – such as the use of incinerators – only make the problem worse.

“The sad reality is that large amounts of usable clothing are destroyed every year,” Swartz said.

GoTRG is a product returns management company that handles over 100 million distressed, unsold, or returned items annually for manufacturers, e-tailers, and big-box chains. And they anticipate fallout against the Yeezy brand even in secondary markets.

“Companies like ours that run secondary markets are going to be just as reluctant to sell products associated with Ye’s brands as retailers are now,” said goTRG CEO Sender Shamiss. “Much of this product will likely end up in donation bins, recycling bins or landfills.

Another common industry tactic is rebranding merchandise to cover up controversy, according to experts. This involves removing the distressed brand logo or disguising it in some way.

Since Yeezy products are so distinctive in style and design, renaming them might not work, Flickinger said.

The most likely destination for unwanted Yeezy products could be overseas markets.

When it comes to problematic goods, sending them to countries on an as-needed basis and where product durability matters more than brand or fashion, is an industry retreat.

“Exporting it seems like the last and last best thing to do with Yeezy products,” Flickinger said.