CHICAGO - Sears, Roebuck and Co. recently announced it would begin selling Carrier hvac systems and products.

"The ability to offer Kenmore and Carrier products at Sears through one of the nation's largest hvac sales organizations further strengthens its position in the market, giving customers more reason to rely on Sears when it comes to outfitting their homes and families," officials from Sears and Carrier said in a joint statement.

"Sears is pleased to be the only retail destination for Kenmore and Carrier heating and cooling products, which are renowned for their quality, features, and innovation," said Mark Good, executive vice president and general manager for Sears' Product Repair Services. "The agreement is another way Sears is providing our customers with the products and services that meet their changing needs."

Carrier officials said the company will gain increased exposure through Sears' newspaper inserts, plus credit card inserts, direct mail, in-store displays, Internet exposure, and television and phone directory advertising.

"The retail channel is a growing market for the heating and cooling industry, and we're pleased to partner our Carrier brand exclusively with Sears, the leading retail home services provider," said Geraud Darnis, president of Carrier Corp. "This is an exciting partnership, bringing together two industry leaders with a history of innovation and customer satisfaction. It is a natural fit."

Frank Hartman, vice president of Carrier Residential Sales and Marketing division called the agreement "part of Carrier's strategic portfolio" to enter the retail hvac market.

Hartman added that he has received favorable feedback from Carrier distributors. "Not surprisingly, our channel partners have come back with very favorable responses. And a number of them have already had contact with their dealers.

"There will be little or no conflict with existing Carrier dealers," he said. "In fact, some of our dealers already work as Sears subcontractors."

Sears has previously carried Trane equipment, but Sears spokesman Willy Medina said the company was looking for "exclusivity" in selling Carrier products.