Adidas strikes new deal with Kanye West in U.S. market push

Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:20am EDT
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By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) - Adidas (ADSGn.DE: Quote) has agreed to expand its partnership with Kanye West, including opening new stores, hoping to build on its higher profile in the U.S. market since it poached the singer-turned-designer from Nike (NKE.N: Quote) in 2013.

The deal was described by the German sportswear firm 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 along with Adidas products.

West has said that he moved from Nike to Adidas because the German company gave him more creative freedom and royalties, which he said the U.S. firm told him it reserved for professional athletes such as basketball star Michael Jordan.

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 $10 million.

Adidas has regained some ground in the U.S. market in recent months since falling into third place behind Nike and Under Armour (UA.N: Quote).

Adidas has 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 U.S. footwear market, Adidas sales rose almost two-thirds in May to take a 6 percent share, according to data from market research firm NPD.   Continued...

Singer Kanye West walks past models after presenting his Fall/Winter 2015 partnership line with Adidas at New York Fashion Week, U.S. February 12, 2015.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File photo