Adidas CEO: Kanye West Yeezy collaboration has lifted our 'perception' in the US

Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer has said the Yeezy sneaker collaboration with Kanye West has raised the brand's standing in the US, where it is trying to turn around footwear sales against strong competition from Nike and Under Armour.

Yeezy: Adidas claims the Kanye collaboration has given it street cred in the US
Yeezy: Adidas claims the Kanye collaboration has given it street cred in the US

Speaking during a webcast on its results yesterday, Hainer said: "There is no question that the collaboration with Kanye West has significantly elevated the perception of our brand not only, but particularly, in the US."

He said the impact had gone far beyond the lifestyle part of the business and had helped it make major progress in connecting with the consumer.

A stronger US business has also helped the firm's presence in retail, Hainer added.

"It has not gone unnoticed by the country’s most important retailers," he said. "They have become much more supportive of our products over the past 12 months which is reflected in the significant increase in space in their stores."

Hainer said the popularity of seven other trainer ranges had led to Adidas becoming the most popular sneaker brand on Instagram.

Adidas reportedly paid Kanye West $10m (£7m) to collaborate on the limited-edition 'Yeezy' trainers, but there was criticism from some camps that this had not paid off.

NPD analyst Matt Powell told Marketing that the Yeezy line's actual sales performance, which he said was in the hundreds of thousands, was proof that superstar endorsements rarely pay off.

He attributed Adidas' improving sales performance in the US to a tighter and more focused product team than the 'West effect'. Adidas doesn't break out the sales performance on individual ranges.

Adidas reported an improvement in its US sales performance, wiith brand sales for full year 2015 up 9% year on year on a currency neutral basis to €2.2bn.

Overall footwear sales were up 19% for the year on a currency neutral basis to €8.4bn.

Adidas reported full-year net profit of €634m, on sales of €17bn, up 29% year on year.

Hainer played up the growing importance of womenswear to the business, stating it was "imperative" the brand won the female market.

"We are now more focused on the female athlete more than ever before," he said. The brand launched a female-focused trainer, PureBoost X, last month.

Adidas also launched the "I'm Here to Create" campaign in January, starring female athletes including tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

Heiner also talked up the appointment of Christine Day, former CEO of Lululemon, as an advisor on Adidas' womenswear business.

He said: "As an expert in building an athletic brand for women, Christine has been instrumental in sharpening our game plan, asking the right questions and helping us develop this important part of our business in the right way."

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