DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ A bankruptcy judge Thursday gave Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. permission to close 102 stores as part of the company's reorganization.

The company will close all 68 of its Texas chain of Margo's specialty apparel stores, 32 of its 106 El-Bee Shoes stores and two outlet stores.

Elder-Beerman, a privately owned company based in Dayton, last month filed for Chapter 11 protection while it reorganizes.

The Thursday ruling by Judge William Clark clears the way for Elder-Beerman to begin holding going-out-of-business sales at the Margo's stores beginning Friday and at the other stores within a few days.

The stores are expected to close early next year.

The closings will not affect the 50 Elder-Beerman department stores, which are located in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Scott Davido, attorney for the company, told Clark that a financial analysis of the stores to be closed showed that they were posing ``a mounting burden'' on the company.

Elder-Beerman employs 8,700 workers, about 3,400 of them in the Dayton area.