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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 November 2018 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

So, Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet International are two different companies? How confusing.

Someone happened to mention to me that Forbidden Planet had no stores in Scotland. I found that odd as I have been in the Aberdeen and Glasgow stores more than once.

After some cursory research, it turns out Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet International are two separate entities. Forbidden Planet International does have three branches in Scotland.

It seems odd to have two similar-sounding entities. It's no major hardship, of course. But it could cause confusion, e.g. my aforementioned friend who was working in Scotland for a while, but was told by Forbidden Planet that they don't have Scottish stores.

I have read of companies being forced to change their name due to similarities (I think two West Coast banks had a legal dispute over it). The WWF (wrestling) and WWF (wildlife charity) had a legal battle over the acronym, one which the charity won.

I'm just surprised Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet International didn't do more to distinguish themselves. Both are very cool stores, to be in. If you're ever in Wolverhampton, I can certainly recommend the Forbidden Planet International there. It has two floors and the second floor is filled with every form of merchandise imaginable!


Edited by Robbie Parry on 06 November 2018 at 12:16pm
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 06 November 2018 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It has something to do with a company split. they were one company but then split and agreed to both be able to use the names. Even the websites and emails look exactly the same.
Same images, descriptions and prices.

FP was the London store and includes others like Birmingham
FPI was the Scottish store and includes Wolverhampton

I did a bunch of research into this a few years ago as I was confused as to what was what like you.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 November 2018 at 3:20pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It's a mess, James. 

And a bit ludicrous, too. Wouldn't two separate entities WANT to be distinct?

Like I said, it's no hardship, but it could cause problems akin to the one mentioned in my initial post. When my friend said there were no Forbidden Planet branches in Scotland, I said something like, "There are. I've been to them." And he said something like, "A Forbidden Planet employee in Birmingham told me there aren't any." (My friend was working in Scotland for a while, hence his question).

It was only after that, that I researched it.

But, again, it's ludicrous. Imagine the issues it could cause.

Scenario: person is treated badly by employee in Forbidden Planet (Birmingham). So he goes on the website to complain via a contact form. He waits weeks, hoping for his complaint to be resolved, only to receive the following reply: "Sorry, this is Forbidden Planet International, we cannot assist you..."

A similar thing in the UK concerns Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains. Okay, "East Coast" would make it stand out - or not. I saw a Twitter conversation once where someone had complained to Virgin Trains East Coast - or so they thought. They'd actually been communicating with Virgin Trains, which handles the west coast services. It doesn't help that both use "Virgin Trains" as shorthand - and have similar, if not identical, livery. And weren't they both combined at one point?

There should be a law against such confusion. And there was me thinking companies would want a distinct brand...


Edited by Robbie Parry on 06 November 2018 at 3:22pm
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Leigh DJ Hunt
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Posted: 06 November 2018 at 3:45pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

And of course one of the two businesses has decided to stop having an on-line business and concentrate on shops-only. Which you don't see happening very often these days.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 06 November 2018 at 10:56pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I have bought Marvel Omnibus titles for VERY cheap pre-
order prices with only £1 p+p in the past from FPI`s
website, to my shame, i haven`t set foot in the
Wolverhampton store in years, mind you, i rarely set
foot in Wolverhampton despite it being my local city!
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 12:29am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Having been to Wolves in the last couple of weeks Bill, I donít think many people set foot there any more. It was like a ghost town. So many shuttered units.
It was a shock to see after not going there for a couple of years
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 4:33am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

It looks like it's had far more investment than Coventry!

The Wolverhampton store, Bill, has a lot of stuff on the second floor. Some branches of both FP and FPI have a very limited stock of certain trades/graphic novels, e.g. just a few STAR WARS or STAR TREK trades.

Yet when I last went in the Wolverhampton branch, there were a lot of STAR WARS and STAR TREK trades. Almost every current DC/Marvel trade. And so much else.
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Valmor J. Pedretti
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 5:45am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Just as a curiosity, I grew up here in Brazil with the only comic shop in town being named "Planeta Proibido", which stands for Forbidden Planet in portuguese.
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Having been to Wolves in the last couple of weeks Bill, I donít think many people set foot there any more. It was like a ghost town. So many shuttered units.
It was a shock to see after not going there for a couple of years.

=======================================================

My job takes me all over the UK, and it is a shock visiting places I went to 5 / 6 years ago now, and seeing that they have become ghost towns.
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John Mariani
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 6:35am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Is the "ghost town" effect purely down to the death of the High Street or is it more complicated than that?
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 8:02am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I feel it is more complicated.

Example: on more than one occasion (not every day), I have went into independent stores and not received the best customer service.

I visited Redditch recently. I went in an independent shop. Very small (so the store owner would have seen me). She never looked up once. Texting away. No, "Can I help you?" or "Are you looking for something?"

It happened in a furniture store once, too. Went in and the guy was just texting away. I hate disturbing people (I feel rude), but I hovered by the counter, hoping he'd look up and assist me with buying a sofa. But he carried on texting.

Why would I give them my custom?

Not all are like that, though. There's a guy who sells pork scratchings in Birmingham city centre. I bought some from him and he said, "Thank you for your custom, mate." It was a pleasure to do business with him.

There are other factors, e.g the cost of parking your car.

It is easy for high street proprietors to blame the internet. And I don't doubt some use the internet stores for convenience, but with *some* store owners not exactly breaking any records to give customer service, I am not surprised some are going bankrupt.
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 8:05am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I think it is a symptom of the "Death of the High Street". I live 9 miles outside of Manchester, and rather than pay for (expensive) parking or public transport in to Manchester, would rather drive to 2 or 3 outlets within a 5 mile radius of my home with free parking.

The internet has also caused this. There is no real incentive to go to High Street's much anymore. Manchester, while having shops, is now more a restaurant / pub focused area.

As for places like Wolverhampton and Luton, with companies moving out of areas then naturally there will be a decline.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 8:31am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I prefer to go to high streets.

I love visiting Waterstones and HMV. I love browsing bookstores and music stores. Why? Two reasons: specific purchases and serendipity ("I came in for a Led Zeppelin album, but there's a new rock band CD on the shelf?").

It's also about being outdoors. Bromsgrove is a nice place to visit. Found a nice alcohol shop there. My job means I can rarely drink alcohol, but it was nice to visit such a place.

The Works is another good store.

There's also a nice tobacconist in Birmingham (Great Western Arcade) for those of us who smoke very, very rarely. 

So I do enjoy visiting high streets and shopping malls as opposed to ordering online. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 8:39am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Wolverhampton is all the usual chain stores, the
little independant record and comic stores are long
gone, this leaves me with HMV, which to be honest
doesn`t stock music that caters to my tastes, plus
most of the stuff i would buy is much cheaper
online.As for Forbidden Planet, i just don`t buy hard
copies anymore.In the 80`s and 90`s i used to travel
weekly to Birmingham for my comic fix, now there is
actually a big shop in Wolves, my buying habit has
changed.As i get my car serviced and MOT`d on the
outskirts of the city, i usually drop it off at 8am
and walk into the city to do some Christmas shopping,
but it gets increasingly hard to kill the time it
takes my car to be finished in the shops.There is not
a lot to interest a mid-50`s male!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 9:21am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

There's a merchandise shop in Wolverhampton, Bill, that may well have some comics in (it's more of a toy shop).

It's on King Street. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 10:12am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

And a bit ludicrous, too. Wouldn't two separate entities WANT to be distinct?

óó

Of course they would. But tell me how you would determine who keeps the established brand and who would have to start over with a new name. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Coin toss, Michael. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 10:19am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

The one that confuses me is Target in the US and Target in Australia. They are two entirely separate companies that use the same logo and color scheme. Also some of the same marketing, but I think that is Target Australia capitalizing on some of the brand confusion with the US Target. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

When Judge Dredd's world becomes a reality, and I become Chief Judge, capitalizing on brand confusion will result in a mandatory prison sentence! 
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Glenn Brenner
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Is the Forbidden Planet in NY affliated with FPI?

I remember back in the 80s and 90s, there was a big comic shop/fantasy book store across the street and a block south of the current FP in NY that at was called Forbidden Planet. I just assumed they moved across Broadway at some point, but now I'm wondering if they closed down, only to be replaced by these new Forbidden Planet stores. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 11:10am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Yes, the New York store is FPI.

On a related note, we used to have a lot of non-FP comic stores around. There are some - check out Dave's Comics in Brighton if you're ever there - but there was one called Another World in Wolverhampton.

I think most either "died" or became absorbed by FP or FPI. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I have no idea where King Street is Robbie! Another
World if i remember correctly, is on the site of FP,
there was a small independent shop in Worcester St in
the mid-80`s, but it didn`t last long. There was also
one in Broad Street around the same time, but it was
sandwiched between a load of marital aid and grot book
shops, so i avoided that as it was on the main bus
route, and i feared someone i knew seeing me going in
the comic shop, but thinking it was a grot shop!

The High Street IS changing, charity shops get
favourable business rates, whilst small independant
and major stores are hammered, no matter what their
takings.Then there`s the change in buying habits,
people are increasingly buying online.
As Greg said, people prefer to go to out of town
retail parks, where parking is free.
The local councils also, have made driving into local
cities a nightmare of high cost parking, confusing
road layouts that trick you into edging into bus
lanes, then fine you for your mistake!
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 1:10pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I've received 2 fines thanks to the Council's confusing signs around Manchester. 

Krypton Komics in London is still an independent run shop. Has a great selection.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 1:26pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Greg, my uncle ventured into Wolverhampton by car at
night to visit the theatre, he hadn`t driven in the city
for a couple of decades.Confused by the road layout and
poor signage, he merged into a lane a couple of metres
too early and got TWO fines for being in a bus lane.He
vowed never to visit the city again.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 November 2018 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Bill, you don't know the roads in your own city? Tut, tut... ;-)

Queen Square, Bill? Get to there (please tell me you know that or I'll unfriend you). You know the Prince Albert Statue, right? Walk down Dudley Street, look out for Greggs, King Street is your first left. Lots of merchandise in there, many of it figures and toys.
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