William Roche from Killavullen founded Roches Stores in the early 1900s. The first store was a furniture store situated on Merchant Street, where it traded under the name of 'Cork Furniture Store'. After some years of trading, the store expanded and and began to sell ladies' clothes as well as furniture. In 1919 the firm moved to new premises on Winthrop Street. The Winthrop Street premises later became the Lee Cinema. In June of 1919 the firm took over 'London House' which was one of the biggest and best-known stores on Saint Patrick's Street. Part of the present-day Roches Stores stands on the same site.
The name of the firm was officially changed to Roches Stores in September 1919. The Roches Stores premises on Saint Patrick's Street was burned down during the burning of Cork city in December 1920 and, for six months afterwards, trading was carried out from the old premises on Merchant Street. From May 1921 to January 1927 business was conducted from temporary premises on the site of the burned building. In 1927 Roches Stores reopened in a new building on the old 'London House' site and has remained there to the present day. The premises have been extensively expanded and refurbished in recent times. Merchant Street ceased as a street when it was incorporated into the expanded Roches Stores as part of the development of the Merchant Quay shopping complex during the 1990s.