The US apparel and footwear industry and the retail sector have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory at the weekend and pledged to work with the new administration to help strengthen the country’s economy.

In a closely fought election, Biden was projected as the winner on Saturday (9 November) with a current 290-214 lead. His win, however, remains a projection as key states still count votes. Once confirmed he will assume power in January.

Biden and Harris have named coronavirus and the economy as two of four key issues to address in their transition to power. Today (9 November), Biden is expected to name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Covid plan and convert it into an action blueprint to start on 20 January 2021.

They have also launched a website for the transition, which states the team will also focus on building prosperity, achieving racial justice, and tackling climate change.

In a statement at the weekend, Steve Lamar, CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) congratulated Biden and Harris on the election.

“We welcome their message of unity and inclusion, as well as the recognition that the mandate of this election is to foster cooperation with all Americans. We celebrate that Americans engaged in our political process in record numbers, despite enormous challenges, and we look forward to a peaceful and predictable transition to honour that unprecedented participation.

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“We applaud Mr Biden for making Covid-19 management and relief priority number one, and commend his efforts to build a Covid-19 Task Force focused on science, the health and well-being of all Americans, and the strengthening of the US economy. We look forward to working with the Biden administration on these priorities in 2021.

“Until a reliable vaccine is widely available, and the economy can regain the strength necessary to sustain itself, fighting Covid-19 using all our health and economic tools must be our top priority – both for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.

“We are proud of the AAFA membership and our four million American workers as they have pivoted to supply critical PPE during the past nine months. We look forward to protecting their safe operations and keeping doors open this fall, winter, and into 2021, while we continue to provide everyday essentials safely to families around the globe.”

The US Fashion Industry Association, meanwhile, applauded the historic number of Americans who voted in the 2020 election. “Many brands and retailers supported get-out-the-vote initiatives, and gave our employees time off to vote. We are pleased that the turnout on November 3rd reflects our vibrant American democracy.  

“USFIA congratulates President-elect Joe Biden on his election as the 46th President of the United States. We also congratulate Kamala Harris on her glass-ceiling-shattering election as the first woman, Black woman and Indian-American to be the Vice President-elect. We look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration and the Congress to find solutions to the challenges before us – especially solutions to stop Covid-19 and to support the economy. We believe that a fresh approach to trade policy and to American participation in global alliances will support the recovery today and for the future.”

Likewise, National Retail Federation (NRF) president and CEO, Matthew Shay, congratulated Biden and Harris and pledged to work with the administration and new Congress to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic and propel the country’s economic recovery.

“After a historic and unprecedented election season, the country has selected our next Commander in Chief through its long-standing democratic process. We must rise above the political rhetoric that has divided our nation and remember we are Americans first. Now is the time to come together and unite around the substantial challenges we face and for the betterment of our country.

“As the largest private-sector employer in the country, the retail industry looks forward to continuing our tradition of working with presidents and their administrations of both major political parties to advance the industry’s priorities in job creation, economic development and career opportunities for millions of Americans. We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on a hard-fought victory.

“Throughout this year’s extraordinary circumstances, retailers have shown their resilience and adaptability and will continue to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers, the communities we serve, and the 52 million working Americans supported by the retail industry as we enter a busy holiday season.”