US department-store operator JC Penney has appointed Laurie Beja Miller as executive vice president of The Square, the new core of its revamped stores that will be a centre for entertainment and various attractions.

"In the golden age of department stores, America's families came for more than just to shop," said CEO Ron Johnson. "They were able to have fun experiences and were offered a range of useful services.

"We are going to revive that excitement and convenience at JCPenney, and Laurie is the ideal person to lead the charge.

"She brings an exceptional track record of creating differentiated shopping environments, unique insight into customer behaviour, and a passion about retail that will all be invaluable as we execute our concept for JCPenney's stores."

Beja Miller was previously vice president and general manager for the Americas at cosmetics brand Bare Escentuals. Previously, she was general manager, vice president Nike Retail US. She has also held senior roles at Hallmark Cards, Apple, Pottery Barn and Disney Stores.

JC Penney is in the process of revamping its offer, with a new pricing strategy, plans to re-invent the store experience, a new brand identity and a number of new brands.