"Many of the companies we speak with are praying for an expansion," said James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG. "At that point, even our most informed customers feel that something could happen."
Given the rapidly approaching deadline and the serious economic consequences that would follow the collapse of the bloc without an agreement, delaying Brexit has become more acceptable to the business.
Business lobby groups called for clarity on the terms of the divorce and future UK trade relations with the European Union. Their focus, however, has focused in recent weeks on preventing a disorderly separation at any cost. The European Union would have to agree to a British request for delay.
The cost of the crash
The companies said that they store goods where possible, but "all frozen and refrigerated warehouses are already in use and there is very little general storage space." They warned of a "devastating impact" on British farmers.
The British Chamber of Commerce summarizes the input of its members in this way: An untidy Brexit, they warn "a disaster for the British economy, for business and for a livelihood."
A collapse of the European Union would lead to new costs and barriers to trade for UK companies. Scorched supply chains would put manufacturing companies in a particularly difficult position.
Mark Essex, Public Relations Director at KPMG, said that "unknown unknowns" could cause the biggest problems for businesses.
"The supermarkets Think about where they will buy their bread Bananas are coming, but what they may not think about, where does the spare part for their refrigerator come from, if it breaks down, "he said. "What if it's stuck in Germany?"
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 41% of companies believe that a chaotic Brexit would impact their business, but they have not started planning yet.
The cost of delay
While this may be an appealing option for businesses, delaying Brexit could be costly.
Large and small businesses have complained since the referendum in June 2016 that uncertainty about future trade rules has led to a delay in investment. And a delay means more uncertainty.
According to the National Statistics Office, business investment in the United Kingdom declined for three consecutive quarters from January to September, the longest decline since the global financial crisis.