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adidas strikes new deal with Kanye West in US market push

Adidas is on a roll in the US. In its bid to gain ground in the market at the expense of fierce domestic rival Nike, the German giant has geared up its association with Kanye West into a full-blown partnership, including opening new stores.

Although an adidas spokeswoman declined to give financial details or specify the length of the deal, media reports put the value of the previous deal at $10m.

Having poached the singer-turned-designer from Nike in 2013, the new deal was described by adidas on Wednesday as “the most significant partnership between a non-athlete and a sports brand” and said it will develop beyond its current lifestyle focus to introduce sports performance designs.

adidas will create a new brand with West for footwear, clothing and accessories, and also plans new stores selling West’s Yeezy branded products alongside adidas products.

adidas said a dedicated team based in the firm’s US headquarters in Portland, Oregon, would work with West on the development of all Yeezy products.

West’s designs so far for adidas have concentrated on limited edition footwear, with fans camping outside stores to wait for the release of the latest Yeezy Boost footwear.

“This partnership illustrates that anyone with a dream can dream without limitations,” West said on Wednesday.

Previously, West has said he moved from Nike to adidas because the German company gave him more creative freedom and royalties, which he said the US firm told him is reserved for professional athletes such as basketball star Michael Jordan.

Meanwhile, adidas has regained some ground in the US market in recent months since falling into third place behind Nike and Under Armour having increased its spending on marketing and lifted its profile thanks to collaborations with celebrities such as West and singer Pharrell Williams.

It has also poached the NFL’s Aaron Rodgers and basketball player James Harden from Nike.

Although Nike and its Jordan brand still dominate the US footwear market, adidas sales rose almost two-thirds in May to take a 6% share, according to data from market research firm NPD.


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